Anticholinergic effects on memory: Benztropine versus amantadine

Alan J. Gelenberg, Theodore Van Putten, Philip W. Lavori, Joanne D. Wojcik, William E. Falk, Stephen Marder, Maureen Galvin-Nadeau, Bonnie Spring, Richard C. Mohs, Andrew W. Brotman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


To evaluate anticholinergic effects on cognition and other functions, we studied 60 healthy volunteers in a double-blind crossover trial of two antiparkinsonian agents, benztropine and amantadine. Benztropine 4 mg/day, but not amantadine 200 mg/ day, impaired free recall and perception of time, and subjects’ perception of their own memory impairment was significantly greater with benztropine. Side effects in general were worse with benztropine, particularly such anticholinergic effects as dry mouth and blurred vision, and benztropine decreased measured salivary flow to a significantly greater degree than amantadine. Our findings support the hypothesis that drugs that decrease cholinergic transmission impair storage of new information into longterm memory, but have little effect on retrieval from memory or on tasks involving only immediate memory. Clinically, anticholinergic agents can levy a considerable burden on memory and time perception.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)180-185
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of clinical psychopharmacology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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