Artane® is a prescription drug most commonly used to lessen the physical symptoms of Parkinson's disease. The medication is also prescribed to treat muscle spasms and tremors related to other health conditions. Research suggests that the drug works by blocking the effects of an neurotransmitter called acetylcholine in the nervous system, thus decreasing the frequency and strength of electrical impulses throughout the body. Artane® cannot cure Parkinson's, but it does help the majority of patients who take it to have more control over their muscle movements and to experience fewer spastic episodes.
Doctors and drug researchers are not exactly sure how Artane® works, but it is thought that its primary function involves depressing signals in the peripheral nervous system. By inhibiting acetylcholine, the drug effectively turns off many of the impulses that would otherwise trigger symptoms of Parkinson's and several other nerve and muscle disorders. Artane® also appears to have direct relaxing effects on muscle groups in the body, which helps reduce stiffness and make it much easier to control the movement of the arms, legs, and neck.
Most adult patients who use Artane® are instructed to take three to four daily doses of the drug, totaling between six and ten milligrams per day. Exact dosage amounts and frequencies are carefully calculated on a patient-to-patient basis, however, and some people require considerably more or less of the drug to receive the most beneficial effects. Patients are generally given low initial doses so doctors can gauge their responses. If the medication does not cause adverse reactions or major side effects at small doses, the amount can gradually be raised over several weeks. Individuals with Parkinson's disease might be prescribed additional medications to take with Artane® to maximize its effects.
Side effects can occur with Artane®, but they are usually mild. A patient may experience episodes of drowsiness, dizziness, and nausea. Stomach upset, vomiting, diarrhea, and dry mouth are also possible complications. Less commonly, the drug can induce mental confusion, fainting spells, a racing heartbeat, blurred vision, and hallucinations. It is also possible to have an allergic reaction to Artane® that results in a skin rash, severe chest pains, and swelling in the face and throat.
It is important for patients to report any major side effects to their doctors right away. If an allergic reaction occurs, it is essential to stop taking the medication and seek emergency help to avoid life-threatening breathing complications. After stabilizing acute side effects and reactions, the prescribing doctor can consider other possible treatment options.