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mecamylamine

Generic Name: mecamylamine (meck a MILL a meen)
Brand Name: Inversine, Vecamyl

What is mecamylamine?

Mecamylamine is used to treat moderate to severe hypertension (high blood pressure). Because of its many side effects, mecamylamine is not commonly used.

Mecamylamine may also be used for purposes other than those listed in this medication guide.

What is the most important information I should know about mecamylamine?

Use caution when driving, operating machinery, or performing other hazardous activities. Mecamylamine may cause dizziness. If you experience dizziness, avoid these activities.

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If you experience dizziness, rise slowly from a sitting or lying position to avoid falling.

Use alcohol cautiously. Alcohol may increase drowsiness and dizziness while you are taking mecamylamine.

Take mecamylamine every day at the same time, usually after meals.

Call your doctor if you experience tremor, abdominal pain, abdominal distention, or diarrhea.

Who should not take mecamylamine?

Before taking this medication, tell your doctor if you

  • have arteriosclerosis (poor blood flow in the arteries, or "hardening of the arteries") in your heart (coronary) or to the head (cerebral);

  • have recently had a heart attack;

  • have glaucoma;

  • have kidney disease; or

  • have difficulty urinating as a result of an enlarged prostate or some other cause.

You may not be able to take mecamylamine, or you may require a lower dose or special monitoring during treatment if you have any of the conditions listed above.

Mecamylamine is in the FDA pregnancy category C. This means that it is not known whether mecamylamine will harm an unborn baby. Do not take this medication without first talking to your doctor if you are pregnant.

It is not known whether mecamylamine passes into breast milk. Do not take mecamylamine without first talking to your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

How should I take mecamylamine?

Take mecamylamine exactly as directed by your doctor. If you do not understand these directions, ask your pharmacist, nurse, or doctor to explain them to you.

Take each dose with a full glass of water.

Take mecamylamine after meals.

Take each dose at the same time every day.

Do not stop taking this medication unless your doctor approves. Not taking your medication could make your condition much worse.

Store mecamylamine at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take only your next regularly scheduled dose. Do not take a double dose of this medication.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention.

Symptoms of a mecamylamine overdose include fainting, dizziness, weakness, confusion, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, difficulty urinating, anxiety, dry mouth, large pupils, blurred vision, and an irregular heartbeat.

What should I avoid while taking this mecamylamine?

Use caution when driving, operating machinery, or performing other hazardous activities. Mecamylamine may cause dizziness. If you experience dizziness, avoid these activities.

If you experience dizziness, rise slowly from a sitting or lying position to avoid falling.

Use alcohol cautiously. Alcohol may increase drowsiness and dizziness while you are taking mecamylamine.

Mecamylamine side effects

If you experience any of the following serious side effects, stop taking mecamylamine and seek emergency medical attention:

  • an allergic reaction (difficulty breathing; closing of your throat; swelling of your lips, tongue, or face; or hives); or

  • abdominal pain, abdominal distention, or diarrhea.

Other, less serious side effects may be more likely to occur. Continue to take mecamylamine and talk to your doctor if you experience

  • nausea, vomiting, or constipation;

  • dry mouth;

  • decreased appetite;

  • dizziness and fainting;

  • drowsiness or weakness;

  • dilated (large) pupils and blurred vision; or

  • difficulty urinating.

Side effects other than those listed here may also occur. Talk to your doctor about any side effect that seems unusual or that is especially bothersome. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

See also: Side effects (in more detail)

Mecamylamine dosing information

Usual Adult Dose for Hypertension:

Moderately severe to severe essential hypertension or uncomplicated malignant hypertension:

Initial dose: usually 2.5 mg orally twice a day. The initial regulation of dosage should be determined by blood pressure readings in the erect position at the time of maximal effect of the drug, as well as by other signs and symptoms of orthostatic hypotension.

Maintenance dose: Increase dose as needed in increments of 2.5 mg at intervals of not less than 2 days until the desired blood pressure is achieved. In severe or urgent cases, larger increments at smaller intervals may be needed. The maintenance dosage should be just below that which causes signs of mild postural hypotension. The average total daily dosage is 25 mg orally in divided doses (generally 2 to 4 doses, but more if necessary in severe cases when smooth control is difficult to obtain). However, as little as 2.5 mg daily may be adequate in some patients.

What other drugs will affect mecamylamine?

Generally, mecamylamine should not be used during treatment with antibiotics or sulfa-based drugs. Tell your doctor if you are taking drugs of either of these types.

Other drugs used to lower high blood pressure may increase the effects of mecamylamine, and serious side effects could occur. Tell your doctor about all medicines you take to lower high blood pressure or to treat other heart conditions.

Anesthesia (use of drugs that put you to sleep for surgery) may also increase the effects of mecamylamine. Tell your doctor or dentist that you are taking mecamylamine before you have surgery.

Drugs other than those listed here may also interact with mecamylamine or affect your condition. Talk to your doctor and pharmacist before taking any prescription or over-the-counter medicines.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your pharmacist has additional information about mecamylamine written for health professionals that you may read.
  • Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
  • Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

Copyright 1996-2012 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 2.07. Revision Date: 2010-12-15, 5:01:39 PM.

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