How Do Anticholinergic Agents Work?

Reviewed on 1/12/2022

HOW DO ANTICHOLINERGIC AGENTS WORK?

Anticholinergic agents are a class of medications used to treat various gastrointestinal, bladder, and bowel control problems, kidney stones, and gall stones. Anticholinergics are drugs that block the action of “acetylcholine.” Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter (a chemical messenger) released by the nerves for the contraction of muscles. Blocking of acetylcholine inhibits involuntary muscle movements and various other bodily functions.

These are administered via oral and intravenous routes.

Anticholinergic agents work in the following ways:

  • They block the action of a neurotransmitter called “acetylcholine” in the central and peripheral nervous systems.
  • Acetylcholine is responsible for transferring signals between certain cells that perform specific bodily functions (including digestion, urination, salivation).
  • They block acetylcholine from binding to its receptors on certain nerve cells which inhibits involuntary muscle movements in the lungs, gastrointestinal tract, urinary tract, and other areas of the body.
  • Anticholinergic agents decrease the acid production in the stomach that slows down the natural gut movements, thus relaxing the muscles in several organs such as the stomach, intestines, kidney, and bladder.
  • In addition, they decrease the amount of body fluids (saliva, sweat).

HOW ARE ANTICHOLINERGIC AGENTS USED?

Anticholinergic agents are used for the following:

QUESTION

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WHAT ARE SIDE EFFECTS OF ANTICHOLINERGIC AGENTS?

Common side effects include:

Other rare side effects include:

  • Confusion
  • Urine retention
  • Hallucinations (involve hearing, seeing, feeling, smelling, or even tasting things that are not real)
  • Memory problems
  • Blurred vision
  • Trouble urinating
  • Trouble breathing
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Loss of coordination

Information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible side effects, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. Check with your doctor or pharmacist to make sure these drugs do not cause any harm when you take them along with other medicines. Never stop taking your medication and never change your dose or frequency without consulting your doctor.

WHAT ARE NAMES OF ANTICHOLINERGICS AGENTS?

Drug names include:                              

References
https://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-13766/hyoscyamine-oral/details

https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a684010.html

https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a684007.html

https://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-5247/dicyclomine-oral/details

https://www.medicinenet.com/dicyclomine/article.htm#what_is_dicyclomine_what_are_the_uses_for_dicyclomine

https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a602014.html

https://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-8788-1384/glycopyrrolate-oral/glycopyrrolate-solution-oral/details

https://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-6963/methscopolamine-oral/details

https://www.medicinenet.com/methscopolamine-oral/article.htm

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