Anticholinergic Mnemonic

The way to remember the effects of anticholinergic medications is using the mnemonic Hot as a hare, blind as a bat, dry as a bone, red as a beet, mad as a hatter.

  • Hot as a hare: increased body temperature
  • Blind as a bat: mydriasis (dilated pupils)
  • Dry as a bone: dry mouth, dry eyes, decreased sweat
  • Red as a beet: flushed face
  • Mad as a hatter: delirium

Common anticholinergic medications are dimenhydrinate (Gravol) and low-potency antipsychotics, benztropine, atropine and antihistamines.

Don’t forget about the other toxidromes!

 

Toxidromes

toxidromes

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A toxidrome is a syndrome (set of symptoms) caused by specific medications or toxins.

There are 5 big ones to know:

  1. Anticholinergic: low potency antipsychotics, oxybutynin, ACh receptor antagonists (ipratropium, atropine, scopolamine)
  2. Cholinergic: ACh recptor agonists (pilocarpine), AChEIs (organophosphates, phyostigmine)
  3. Opioid: Morphine, heroin, hydromorphone, etc
  4. Sympathomimetic: epinephrine, cocaine, amphetamine (Aderol), methylphenidate (Ritalin)
  5. Sedative-Hypnotic: Benzodiazepines, barbituates, “Z-drugs” (zopiclone, zolpidem), antihistamines
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