an·​ti·​cho·​lin·​er·​gic | \ ˌan-tē-ˌkō-lə-ˈnər-jik How to pronounce anticholinergic (audio) , ˌan-tī- How to pronounce anticholinergic (audio) \

Definition of anticholinergic

: opposing or blocking the physiologic action of acetylcholine The more sedating tricyclic antidepressant drugs … are more likely to produce orthostatic hypotension and such adverse anticholinergic effects as urinary hesitancy, constipation, dry mouth, and blurred vision …— Patricia N. Prinz et al. anticholinergic drugs used to treat a broad range of conditions, from overactive bladder to bronchial spasms.— Melinda Beck

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Other Words from anticholinergic

anticholinergic noun

Examples of anticholinergic in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web According to the research, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, discovered the increase odds of dementia in people 55 and older who take anticholinergic medications. CBS News, "Research links widely-used drugs to a nearly 50% higher risk of dementia," 29 July 2019 Controlling for other factors like smoking, 16.7% of the patients with dementia had been taking some kind of anticholinergic drug daily for at least three years, a decade before the study’s start time. Katherine Ellen Foley, Quartz, "A new study that ties common medications to dementia highlights the need for early detection," 27 June 2019 In other words, anticholinergic medications can cause confusion and/or delirium, dry mouth, visual impairment, fever, and flushing. Katie Heaney, The Cut, "So, Uh, Is It Bad If I’ve Been Taking My Allergy Meds for 10 Years Straight?," 17 May 2018 Long-term use of strong anticholinergic drugs has been linked to the risk of dementia (BMJ, April 25, 2018). Joe Graedon, M.s., And Teresa Graedon, Houston Chronicle, "Will zinc help hirsutism in women?," 13 May 2018 Antihistamines like Benadryl, anti-anxiety medications like Ativan and Xanax, and antidepressants such as Prozac and Cymbalta are all anticholinergic. Brandy Miceli, The Mercury News, "Overmedicating elders: Saratoga talk sheds some light," 26 May 2017 An anticholinergic blocks a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine. Patti Singer, USA TODAY, "Side effects of Benadryl, 'PM' meds can harm, not help, seniors," 25 June 2017 Here’s a summary: There was no firm evidence that any of the anticholinergic test compounds tested produced long-range adverse human health effects in the doses used in the Edgewood tests. Noah Shachtman, WIRED, "Sarin Caused Gulf War Syndrome? Doubt it," 18 May 2007

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'anticholinergic.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of anticholinergic

1942, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for anticholinergic

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The first known use of anticholinergic was in 1942

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Cite this Entry

“Anticholinergic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for anticholinergic


an·​ti·​cho·​lin·​er·​gic | \ -ˌkō-lə-ˈnər-jik How to pronounce anticholinergic (audio) \

Medical Definition of anticholinergic

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: opposing or blocking the physiological action of acetylcholine



Medical Definition of anticholinergic (Entry 2 of 2)

: a drug having an anticholinergic action

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