Bethanechol Side Effects
For the Consumer
Applies to bethanechol: elixir, solution, tablet
In addition to its needed effects, some unwanted effects may be caused by bethanechol. In the event that any of these side effects do occur, they may require medical attention.
If any of the following side effects occur while taking bethanechol, check with your doctor or nurse as soon as possible:Rare - more common with the injection
- Shortness of breath, wheezing, or tightness in chest
Some of the side effects that can occur with bethanechol may not need medical attention. As your body adjusts to the medicine during treatment these side effects may go away. Your health care professional may also be able to tell you about ways to reduce or prevent some of these side effects. If any of the following side effects continue, are bothersome or if you have any questions about them, check with your health care professional:Less common or rare - more common with the injection
- blurred vision or change in near or distance vision
- dizziness or lightheadedness
- feeling faint
- frequent urge to urinate
- increased watering of mouth or sweating
- nausea or vomiting
- redness or flushing of skin or feeling of warmth
- sleeplessness, nervousness, or jitters
- stomach discomfort or pain
For Healthcare Professionals
Applies to bethanechol: compounding powder, oral tablet, subcutaneous solution
Adverse reactions occur more commonly following subcutaneous administration of bethanechol than with oral administration.
Cholinergic overstimulation with symptoms of circulatory collapse, fall in blood pressure, abdominal cramps, bloody diarrhea, shock, or sudden cardiac arrest has been reported rarely with subcutaneous administration of bethanechol. Atropine sulfate should be available to treat symptoms of toxicity when bethanechol is administered subcutaneously. The adult dose of atropine is 0.6 mg administered subcutaneously every 2 hours, according to patient response.[Ref]
Cardiovascular side effects have included decreased blood pressure with reflex tachycardia and vasomotor response.[Ref]
Nervous system side effects have included headache and seizure. Hypothermia has been reported. An acute dystonic reaction associated with the treatment of gastroesophageal reflux during bethanechol therapy in an infant has been reported.[Ref]
Gastrointestinal side effects have included abdominal cramps, colicky pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, salivation, and borborygmi.[Ref]
Ocular side effects have included lacrimation and miosis.[Ref]
Renal side effects have included urinary urgency.[Ref]
Respiratory side effects have included aggravation of asthma and bronchial constriction.[Ref]
Dermatologic side effects have included warmth/heat, flushing, and sweating. A case of miliaria crystallina associated with the use of bethanechol in a diabetic patient with autonomic bladder neuropathy has been reported.[Ref]
1. Caraco Y, Arnon R, Raz I "Bethanechol-induced cholinergic toxicity in diabetic neuropathy [letter." DICP 24 (1990): 327-8
2. "Product Information. Urecholine (bethanechol)." Merck & Co, Inc, West Point, PA.
3. Guerra MF, Ives TJ "Bethanechol and hypothermia [letter]." Ann Intern Med 99 (1983): 279-80
4. Shafrir Y, Levy Y, Beharab A, Nitzam M, Steinherz R "Acute dystonic reaction to bethanechol--a direct acetylcholine receptor agonist." Dev Med Child Neurol 28 (1986): 646-8
5. Berard EJ, Boucand MH, Depassio J, Fyon JP "Effects of bethanechol and adreno-blockers on thermoregulation in spinal cord injury." Paraplegia 27 (1989): 46-50
6. Rochmis PG, Koplon BS "Iatrogenic miliaria crystallina due to bethanechol." Arch Dermatol 95 (1967): 499-500
Not all side effects for bethanechol may be reported. You should always consult a doctor or healthcare professional for medical advice. Side effects can be reported to the FDA here.
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