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Anticholinergic Side Effects
Can't See â€“ Blurred vision
Can't Pee â€“ Urinary retention
Can't Spit â€“ Dry mouth
Can't S**t â€“ Constipation
An anticholinergic is a substance that blocks the neurotransmitter acetylcholine in the central and peripheral nervous system. They inhibit parasympathetic nerve impulses by selectively blocking the binding of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine and its receptor in the nerve cells. The nerve fibers of the parasympathetic system are responsible for the involuntary movement of smooth muscles present within the GI tract, lungs, urinary tract, etc.
The side effects, as you can imagine this like anticholinergics really affect a lot of systems of the body, so you can have a lot of side effects from these medications. The mnemonic for side effects of anticholinergics is â€“ You can't see it, can't pee, can't spit, and can't ****. You can't see â€“ blurred vision is a side effect. Can't pee â€“ urinary retention. Can't spit â€“ you have dry mouth. Can't S**t â€“ Constipation
Cholinergic Crisis S&S
S = Salivation
L = Lacrimation (excessive tears)
U = Urination
D = Defecation
G = Gastric upset
E = Emesis
Another mnemonic when pts are receiving anticholinergics, is for cholinergic crisis. So, the S&S that go along with the cholinergic crisis â€“ SLUDGE. Surprisingly, these are kind of opposite of anticholinergic issues. If you think about it as anticholinergics are kind of drying things up (can't pee, can't spit, etc.), cholinergics are kind of lubricating everything. You just have things coming out of everywhere. So, that's kind of how to remember the two. Anticholinergic kind of drives things up, cholinergic crisis kind of has stuff coming out of everywhere, out of your eyes, bowels, bladder, mouth (emesis and salivation both). So, that's what you can think about when you are trying to differentiate between anticholinergic and cholinergic.