What is Bentyl?
Bentyl is the brand name used for selling the drug known as dicyclomine. It is an anticholinergic drug, which means it blocks the action of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine.
The United States first approved the use of Bentyl for the treatment of peptic ulcer disease in 1996. Nowadays, doctors recommend it for relieving muscle spasms in the stomach and intestines. It also treats functional bowel or IBS (irritable bowel syndrome).
This medication can also treat a variety of other conditions, such as morning sickness and intestinal hypermotility.
Acetylcholine binds to receptors on the muscles that surround your gut and signals for them to contract. By reducing the action of this neurotransmitter, Bentyl helps the muscles in your abdomen relax. You can take Bentyl orally as a liquid, tablet, or capsule. Doctors recommend taking it four times a day, around the same time each day.
Take the recommended amount unless your doctor says otherwise. Your doctor will initially put you on a low dose of about 20 milligrams (mg) per day before gradually increasing it.
This drug also finds its use for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
Bentyl may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful while doing anything that requires you to be alert, like driving.
Drinking alcohol can exacerbate the specific side effects of this medication.
You should avoid becoming dehydrated or overheated in hot weather and while doing exercise. This drug can reduce your sweating, which can cause heatstroke in a hot climate.
You should immediately stop taking Bentyl and call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. These side effects include hallucinations, confusion, fast or uneven heart rate, unusual thoughts or behavior, or if you urinate less than usual or not at all.
Many other medicines can interact with Bentyl. Inform your doctor about all over-the-counter and prescription medications you take. It includes vitamins, minerals, herbs, and drugs that other doctors prescribe. It would be best if you did not start using a new medication without telling your doctor. Keep a list of all the medicines you use and show this list to any doctor or other healthcare provider who treats you.
What to know before taking Bentyl?
Avoid taking this medication if you are allergic to Bentyl or if you have:
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- Severe ulcerative colitis or toxic megacolon
- Problems with urination
- Myasthenia gravis
- Bowel obstruction or severe constipation
- A critical heart condition or active bleeding
- If you are breastfeeding a baby
To ensure your safety, tell your doctor if you have any of these other conditions given below:
- Liver or kidney disease
- Ulcerative colitis
- An enlarged prostate
- An ileostomy or colostomy
- Hiatal hernia
- A nerve problem (such as tingling or numbness)
- High blood pressure, heart disease, heart rhythm disorder, or congestive heart failure
This medication might not be harmful to an unborn baby. You should tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment.
It can pass into breast milk and cause breathing problems or other life-threatening side effects in infants younger than six months. Avoid breastfeeding a baby while taking this medication.
Bentyl is more likely to have side effects in older adults.
The doctors do not recommend the use of Bentyl in a child younger than six months old.
How to take Bentyl?
You should take this medicine precisely the same way as prescribed by your doctor. Avoid taking this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended. Follow the directions on your prescription label.
Patients should take Bentyl four times each day. Your doctor may occasionally alter your dose to make sure you get the best results.
Doctors recommend taking this medicine with a glass full of water.
Try to measure liquid medicine with a special dose-measuring spoon or cup, not a regular tablespoon. If you do not have a dose-measuring device, ask your pharmacist for one.
Consult your doctor if your symptoms do not improve after two weeks of treatment with Bentyl.
Try storing the medicine at room temperature, away from heat and moisture.
Usual Adult Dose for Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- The initial dose is 20 mg taken orally four times a day.
- The maintenance dose is up to 40 mg taken orally four times a day, after one week of the initial dosage.
- You should discontinue using this drug if it doesn’t show desired efficacy within two weeks or side effects require doses below 80 mg per day.
- There is no documented safety data available for doses above 80 mg daily for periods longer than two weeks.
- The typical dosage is 10 to 20 mg taken four times a day.
- The duration of therapy is 1 or 2 weeks when the patient cannot take oral form.
- Administer injection via IM only.
- Treatment of patients with functional bowel or irritable bowel syndrome
Taking this medicine more than the prescribed amount can lead to this drug’s dangerous levels in your body, and you may experience more severe side effects. Signs and symptoms of overdose include:
- Blurred vision
- Dilated pupils
- Hot, dry skin
- Dry mouth
- Difficulty swallowing
- The weakness of muscles and possible paralysis
In the situation of an overdose, contact your doctor or local poison Helpline at 1-800-222-1222. You should call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room right away if your symptoms are severe.
What to avoid while using Bentyl?
You may experience blurred vision and impairment in your thinking or reactions when using this medicine. Try to be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be alert and see clearly.
Avoid becoming overheated or dehydrated during exercise and in hot weather. Bentyl can cause decreased sweating, which can lead to heatstroke in a hot environment.
Drinking alcohol can exacerbate the specific side effects of this medicine.
You should take antacids only after consulting your doctor, or else you should avoid it. Take only the type of antacid your doctor recommends. Certain antacids can make it harder for your body to absorb Bentyl (dicyclomine).
Bentyl side effects
This medication may cause drowsiness. Avoid doing any activity that requires you to be mentally alert, such as driving or operating machinery, until you figure out how this drug affects you.
Common side effects
The more common side effects of Bentyl can include:
- Blurry vision
- Dry mouth
Mild effects may go away within a few days or several weeks. If they’re more severe or don’t go away, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.
Serious side effects
- Eye problems. Symptoms can include:
- Blurry vision
- Difficulty moving your eyes
- Sensitivity to light
- Skin problems. Symptoms can include:
- Inflammation of your skin
- Abnormal or rapid heart rate
- Allergic reactions. Symptoms can include:
- Swelling of your face, tongue, throat, arms, and legs
- Trouble breathing or swallowing
- Skin rash, welts, or hives
- Temporary episodes of memory loss
- Sudden and unusual mood or behavior changes
- Decreased breast milk production in breastfeeding women
You should talk to your doctor promptly if you experience severe side effects. Call 911 if your symptoms feel life-threatening or if you think you have a medical emergency.
What drugs can interact with Bentyl?
Bentyl oral tablet can interact with other medications, vitamins, or herbal products you may be taking. Interaction with other medications may change the way a drug works. It can be harmful or prevent the medicine from working well.
Your doctor should manage all of your medications carefully to help avoid interactions. A doctor needs to know what medicines, vitamins, or herbs you’re taking. To find out how this drug might interact with something else you’re taking, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.
You should inform your doctor if you frequently use other medicines that make you sleepy (such as cold or allergy medicine, sedatives, narcotic pain medicine, sleeping pills, muscle relaxers, and medicine for depression, anxiety, or seizures). These medicines can exacerbate sleepiness due to Bentyl.
Let your doctor know about all other medicines you use, notably:
- Amantadine (Symmetrel)
- Digoxin (Lanoxin, Lanoxicaps)
- Metoclopramide (Reglan)
- Atropine (Atreza, Sal-Tropine)
- Bronchodilators such as tiotropium (Spiriva) or ipratropium (Atrovent)
- Urinary or bladder medications such as darifenacin(Enablex)
- Irritable bowel medications such as hyoscyamine (Hyomax)
- A heart rhythm medication like quinidine (Quin-G)
- An MAO inhibitor such as furazolidone (Furoxone)
- Ulcer medication like glycopyrrolate (Robinul) or mepenzolate (Cantil)
- Nitrate medication, such as nitroglycerin (Nitro Dur)
- Phenothiazines such as chlorpromazine (Thorazine)
- Steroid medication such as prednisone