Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology

2018 Edition
| Editors: Jeffrey S. Kreutzer, John DeLuca, Bruce Caplan


  • Mary Pat MurphyEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-57111-9_1769


Anticholinergic medications


Anticholinergic agents alter the balance of neurotransmitters in the central and peripheral nervous system inhibiting parasympathetic nerve impulses. Specifically, the agents diminish acetylcholine and allow for the increase of dopamine. Anticholinergic medications are divided into three categories based on their specific receptor targets in the nervous system and in other sites in the body: antimuscarinic, ganglionic blockers, and neuromuscular blockers. The receptor subtypes affect the brain, salivary glands, smooth muscle, and ciliary muscles of the eye. Categories of medications are clinically used for the antimuscarinic effects and include medications for urinary spasmodics and overactive bladder, anticholinergic antiparkinson’s agents, antivertigo medications, gastrointestinal antispasmodics, mydriatic medications, and medications for bronchospasm. Another group of medications not primarily targeting the cholinergic receptors...

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References and Readings

  1. Fick, D. M., Cooper, J. W., Wade, W. E., Waller, J. L., Maclean, J. R., & Beers, M. H. (2003). Updating the beers criteria for potentially inappropriate medication use in older adults: Results of a US consensus panel of experts. Archives of Internal Medicine, 163(22), 2716–2724.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Han, L., McCusker, J., Cole, M., Abrahamowicz, M., Primeau, F., & Élie, M. (2001). Use of medications with anticholinergic effect predicts clinical severity of delirium symptoms in older medical inpatients. Archives of Internal Medicine, 161(8), 1099–1105.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Lieberman, J. A. (2004). Managing anticholinergic side effects. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 6(Suppl. 2), 20–23.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.MSN, CRRNPaoliUSA