Updated: 1 August, 2019
Dicyclomine is an anticholinergic (antispasmodic) used to reduce muscle spasms affecting the gastrointestinal tract to treat irritable bowel syndrome. Patients with obstructions in their gastrointestinal and urinary tract are not advised to use this medication. It is presented as a capsule, tablet and suspension. Based on a patient’s state of health, the injection type is available to be used on a patient by health care professionals. Dicyclomine hydrochloride is the generic name of the drug with the brand name Bentyl.
Dicyclomine is used to treat irritable bowel syndrome. As an anticholinergic or antispasmodic, it helps relieve the symptoms of stomach and intestinal cramping which accompany this health condition. This is achieved by slowing down the natural movement of the gut. By this, the muscles of the stomach and intestine are relaxed as intense action is prevented. Make sure you get your doctor’s approval before using this medication.
Read the product label carefully before starting this medication. Check if you are allergic to any of the ingredients listed on the label. Discuss your concerns about this drug with your doctor. Take dicyclomine by mouth about 4 times daily. It is better to take it before meals or at bedtime. Start with a lower dose and then up medication dose with time, to reduce the risk of side effects.
If you are using the liquid form of this drug, measure out the prescribed quantity with a special measuring device (ask your pharmacist for one if you don’t have any). Mix your drug with equal quantity of water and drink. Do not take this drug at the same time with antacid. Antacids reduce the rate at which dicyclomine is absorbed in the body. If you are on both medications at the same time, take dicyclomine before meals and antacid after meals. Dicyclomine can be prescribed by your doctor for uses other than originally specified. Discuss any misgivings you have about using this drug for other purposes with your doctor.
Take dicyclomine as your doctor directs. Dosage is prescribed based on your age, medical condition and response to the treatment. An initial dose of 20 mg is recommended, to be taken 4 times daily. In the absence of side effects, this initial dose can be increased to 40 mg, still to be taken 4 times daily. If there is no positive result after 2 weeks of treatment, stop using this drug. If side effects occur and necessitates the reduction of your dose to less than 80 mg daily, treatment should be discontinued. Daily dose above 80 mg daily continued for 2 weeks is not safe.
Do not increase your dose or use more frequently (against your doctor’s orders) as it will expose you to a greater risk of side effects. Increasing your dose by yourself will not give you quicker relief either. If you have been using this drug in high doses or for a longer time, withdrawal symptoms may occur especially if you suddenly stop taking the drug. These withdrawal symptoms include dizziness, sweating and vomiting. Drugs with risk of withdrawal symptoms are addictive.
That is why it is very important that you take this drug exactly as directed by your doctor. Manipulating your dosage (especially if you increase the dosage or frequency of intake) causes more harm than good. To prevent withdrawal symptoms, your doctor will gradually decrease your dosage towards the end of your medication. Report to your doctor if you experience any of the withdrawal symptoms as you end your medication.
In any case of a missed dose, take your drug as soon as you remember, if the time for your next dose is not immediate. Otherwise wait till the next dose time and take a single dose. Do not double your dose to make up for a missed dose.
Do not overdose this medication intentionally for any reason. In any case of accidental overdose, call your doctor or contact the emergency room. Any overdose of this drug can cause serious symptoms. The patient may experience fever, severe dizziness, severe thirst, dry skin, enlarged pupil, confusion, mood changes, over-excitement, muscle weakness, slowed breathing, fainting, seizures, irregular heartbeat and difficulty breathing.
Dicyclomine Side Effects
Your body may express some symptoms when you start using this drug. These symptoms arise as your body tries to get used to the foreign material (dicyclomine) introduced into it. The symptoms include;
- Dry mouth
- Dry eyes
- Blurred vision
- General body weakness
- Stomach bloating
The symptoms will generally fade out after taking few doses of this drug. Some of these symptoms can be managed in the following ways:
- Eat a fibre rich meal, exercise and drink lots of water to stop constipation.
- Suck sugarless hard candy or chew sugarless gum to stop dry mouth symptoms. You can also take lots of water to add to the mouth moisture or boost saliva formation.
- Use eye lubricant to stop dry eyes.
Rare cases of severe side effects have been reported. They include the following symptoms:
- Flushed skin
- Irregular heartbeat
- Loss of coordination
- Slurred speech
- Pain in the eye
- Changes in vision
- Difficulty urinating
- Low sex drive
Report to your doctor immediately you experience any of these side effects. Some patients may be allergic to this medication. If you experience the following symptoms tell your doctor as it means you are allergic to this drug.
- Itchy rash on skin
- Swollen face, tongue or throat
- Intense dizziness
- Breathing problem
Report any other symptom you experience while on this medication. Let your doctor know about any changes you notice in your body system.
Let your doctor know your medical history before prescribing this drug for you. Tell your doctor about the drugs, supplements, vitamins and herbal substances you are currently taking. Make sure you read the product label to know if you are allergic to any of its ingredients.
Do not drive or use any machinery if you feel dizzy while using this drug. Dicyclomine may make you sweat less and increase the risk of heat stroke. Avoid activities that may cause you to overheat. Drink lots of water. Wear light clothes in hot weather. This drug is rated as category B by the FDA. This means that it is safe for pregnant women to use it. However discuss with your doctor before taking it, if you are pregnant. Dicyclomine can pass through breast milk into your baby’s system and cause harm to the baby. Do not take this drug while breastfeeding. Limit or avoid alcoholic drinks while on this medication. They make the side effects more pronounced.
Do not share this drug with another person even if they exhibit symptoms like yours. Store in an airtight container, away from moisture and extreme temperatures. Always keep drugs away from children and pets. Do not flush unused drug down the toilet. Contact your local disposal agency or pharmacist for best ways to dispose your unused drugs.
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