Antispasmodic drugs

Antispasmodic drugs relieve cramps or spasms of the stomach, intestines, andbladder. The drug described here, dicyclomine (Bentyl), is prescribed to treat a condition called irritable bowel syndrome. In some people, the main symptom is abdominal pain. In others, it is diarrhea or alternating bouts of diarrhea and constipation.

Dicyclomine is available only with a prescription and is sold as capsules, tablets (regular and extended-release forms), and syrup. The usual dosage for adults is 20 mg, four times a day. However, the physician may recommend starting at a lower dosage and gradually increasing the dose to reduce the chance of unwanted side effects. The dosage for children depends on the child's age.Check with the child's physician for the correct dosage.

Dicyclomine makes some people sweat less, which allows the body to overheat and may lead to heat prostration (fever and heat stroke). Anyone taking this drug should try to avoid extreme heat. If that is not possible, check with thephysician who prescribed the drug. This medicine can cause drowsiness and blurred or double vision. People who take this drug should not drive, use machines, or do anything else that might be dangerous until they have found out how the medicine affects them.

Dicyclomine should not be given to infants or children unless the physician decides the use of this drug is necessary. Diclyclomine should not be used bywomen who are breast feeding. Women who are pregnant or plan to become pregnant should check with their physicians before using this drug.

Anyone with the following medical conditions should not take dicyclomine unless directed to do so by a physician:

  • Previous sensitivity or allergicreaction to dicyclomine
  • Glaucoma
  • Myasthenia gravis
  • Blockage of the urinary tract, stomach, or intestines
  • Severe ulcerative colitis
  • Reflux esophagitis.

In addition, patients with these conditions should check with their physicians before using dicyclomine:

  • Liver disease
  • Kidney disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart problems
  • Enlarged prostate gland
  • Hiatal hernia
  • Autonomic neuropathy (a nerve disorder)
  • Hyperthyroidism.

Dicyclomine may interact with other medicines. When this happens, the effectsof one or both of the drugs may change or the risk of side effects may be greater. The most common side effects are dizziness, drowsiness, lightheadedness, nausea, nervousness, blurred vision, dry mouth, and weakness. Other side effects may occur. Anyone who has unusual symptoms after taking dicyclomine should get in touch with his or her physician. Be sure to check with a physician or pharmacist before combining dicyclomine with any other prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicine.

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