Bethanechol Side Effects

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.

For the Consumer

Applies to bethanechol: elixir, solution, tablet

Along with its needed effects, bethanechol may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur while taking bethanechol:

Rare - more common with the injection
  • Shortness of breath, wheezing, or tightness in chest

Some side effects of bethanechol may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:

Less common or rare - more common with the injection
  • Belching
  • blurred vision or change in near or distance vision
  • diarrhea
  • dizziness or lightheadedness
  • feeling faint
  • frequent urge to urinate
  • headache
  • increased watering of mouth or sweating
  • nausea or vomiting
  • redness or flushing of skin or feeling of warmth
  • seizures
  • 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.


Cardiovascular side effects have included decreased blood pressure with reflex tachycardia and vasomotor response.

Nervous system

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.


Gastrointestinal side effects have included abdominal cramps, colicky pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, salivation, and borborygmi.


Ocular side effects have included lacrimation and miosis.


Renal side effects have included urinary urgency.


Respiratory side effects have included aggravation of asthma and bronchial constriction.


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.

Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided is accurate, up-to-date and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. In addition, the drug information contained herein may be time sensitive and should not be utilized as a reference resource beyond the date hereof. This material does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients, or recommend therapy. This information is a reference resource designed as supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill , knowledge, and judgement of healthcare practitioners in patient care. The absence of a warning for a given drug or combination thereof in no way should be construed to indicate safety, effectiveness, or appropriateness for any given patient. does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of materials provided. 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 substances you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist.