Generic Name: bethanechol (be-THAN-e-kol)
Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on July 13, 2020.
Commonly used brand name(s)
In the U.S.
Available Dosage Forms:
Therapeutic Class: Urinary Antispasmodic
Pharmacologic Class: Cholinergic
Uses for bethanechol
Bethanechol is taken to treat certain disorders of the urinary tract or bladder. It helps to cause urination and emptying of the bladder. Bethanechol may also be used for other conditions as determined by your doctor.
Bethanechol is available only with your doctor's prescription.
Before using bethanechol
In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For bethanechol, the following should be considered:
Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to bethanechol or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.
Although there is no specific information comparing use of bethanechol in children with use in other age groups, bethanechol is not expected to cause different side effects or problems in children than it does in adults.
Many medicines have not been studied specifically in older people. Therefore, it may not be known whether they work exactly the same way they do in younger adults. Although there is no specific information comparing use of bethanechol in the elderly with use in other age groups, it is not expected to cause different side effects or problems in older people than it does in younger adults.
There are no adequate studies in women for determining infant risk when using this medication during breastfeeding. Weigh the potential benefits against the potential risks before taking this medication while breastfeeding.
Interactions with medicines
Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. When you are taking bethanechol, it is especially important that your healthcare professional know if you are taking any of the medicines listed below. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.
Using bethanechol with any of the following medicines may cause an increased risk of certain side effects, but using both drugs may be the best treatment for you. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.
- Betel Nut
Interactions with food/tobacco/alcohol
Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. Discuss with your healthcare professional the use of your medicine with food, alcohol, or tobacco.
Other medical problems
The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of bethanechol. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:
- Asthma or
- Epilepsy or
- Heart or blood vessel disease or
- Intestinal blockage or
- Low blood pressure or
- Parkinson's disease or
- Recent bladder or intestinal surgery or
- Stomach ulcer or other stomach problems or
- Urinary tract blockage or difficult urination—Bethanechol may make these conditions worse
- High blood pressure—Bethanechol may cause a rapid fall in blood pressure
- Overactive thyroid—Bethanechol may further increase the chance of heart problems
Proper use of bethanechol
Take bethanechol on an empty stomach (either 1 hour before or 2 hours after meals) to lessen the possibility of nausea and vomiting, unless otherwise directed by your doctor.
Take bethanechol only as directed. Do not take more of it, do not take it more often, and do not take it for a longer time than your doctor ordered. To do so may increase the chance of side effects.
The dose of bethanechol will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of bethanechol. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.
The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.
- To empty the bladder:
- For oral dosage form (tablets):
- Adults—25 to 50 milligrams (mg) three or four times a day.
- Children—Dose is based on body weight and must be determined by your doctor. The usual dose is 0.6 mg per kilogram (kg) (0.27 mg per pound) of body weight a day. This dose is divided into smaller doses and taken three or four times a day.
- For injection dosage form:
- Adults—5 mg injected under the skin three or four times a day.
- Children—Dose is based on body weight and must be determined by your doctor. The usual dose is 0.2 mg per kg (0.09 mg per pound) of body weight a day. This dose is divided into smaller doses, which are injected under the skin three or four times a day.
- For oral dosage form (tablets):
If you miss a dose of bethanechol, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not double doses.
Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Keep from freezing.
Keep out of the reach of children.
Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.
Precautions while using bethanechol
Dizziness, lightheadedness, or fainting may occur, especially when you get up from a lying or sitting position. Getting up slowly may help lessen this problem.
Bethanechol side effects
Along with its needed effects, a medicine 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:
Rare- more common with the injection
- Shortness of breath, wheezing, or tightness in chest
Some side effects 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
- 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
Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
More about bethanechol
- Side Effects
- During Pregnancy or Breastfeeding
- Dosage Information
- Drug Images
- Drug Interactions
- Compare Alternatives
- Pricing & Coupons
- En Español
- 9 Reviews
- Drug class: miscellaneous genitourinary tract agents
- FDA Alerts (1)
- Other brands
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