Anticholinergic refers to a drug that inhibits the action of acetylcholine at the mAChRs (that is, they serve as antagonists at the mAChRs). At these receptors acetylcholine mediates the actions of the parasympathetic nervous system (the 'rest and digest' division of the autonomous nervous system) as well as some CNS effects such as cognition, mood, voluntary movement, alertness, with antagonists (usually at high doses, however) producing hallucinations and delusions. Antagonists produce the following side effects:

  • Dry mouth
  • Blurred vision
  • Constipation
  • Urinary retention
  • Dizziness
  • Memory impairment
  • Alleviation of movement disorders caused by either D2 antagonism in the nigrostriatal pathway.

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