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Bethanechol

Generic Name: bethanechol (be THAN e chol)
Brand Name: Urecholine, Duvoid

Medically reviewed by Drugs.com on Oct 16, 2020 – Written by Cerner Multum

What is bethanechol?

Bethanechol is used to treat urinary retention (trouble urinating) that may be caused by surgery, delivering a baby, or other conditions.

Bethanechol may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Important Information

Follow all directions on your medicine label and package. Tell each of your healthcare providers about all your medical conditions, allergies, and all medicines you use.

Before taking this medicine

You should not use bethanechol if you are allergic to it, or if you have:

  • slow heartbeats or very low blood pressure (especially if this has caused you to faint);

  • coronary artery disease (clogged arteries);

  • asthma;

  • an overactive thyroid;

  • epilepsy or other seizure disorder;

  • an active ulcer in your stomach or intestines;

  • a blockage in your digestive tract (stomach or intestines);

  • peritonitis (inflammation of the membrane lining the organs inside your abdomen);

  • a bladder obstruction or other urination problems;

  • Parkinson's disease; or

  • if you recently had surgery on your bladder or intestines.

Tell your doctor if you have ever had:

  • urination problems, or a bladder infection;

  • a stomach or intestinal disorder;

  • heart problems;

  • low blood pressure;

  • a thyroid disorder; or

  • breathing problems.

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant.

You should not breastfeed while using bethanechol.

Bethanechol is not approved for use by anyone younger than 18 years old.

How should I take bethanechol?

Follow all directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides or instruction sheets. Your doctor may occasionally change your dose. Use the medicine exactly as directed.

Take bethanechol on an empty stomach, at least 1 hour before or 2 hours after a meal.

It may take up to 90 minutes before your symptoms improve. The effects of bethanechol usually last for about 1 hour.

Call your doctor if your symptoms do not improve within 90 minutes after taking bethanechol.

Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

Keep the tablets in their original container, along with the packet or canister of moisture-absorbing preservative.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the medicine as soon as you can, but skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next dose. Do not take two doses at one time.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

Overdose symptoms may include drooling, stomach discomfort, nausea, vomiting, or feeling hot.

What should I avoid while taking bethanechol?

Avoid driving or hazardous activity until you know how bethanechol will affect you. Your reactions could be impaired.

Avoid getting up too fast from a sitting or lying position, or you may feel dizzy.

Bethanechol side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • slow heartbeats;

  • a light-headed feeling, like you might pass out; or

  • wheezing, chest tightness, trouble breathing.

Common side effects may include:

  • an urgent need to urinate;

  • stomach cramps, nausea, diarrhea;

  • burping, increased saliva;

  • headache, dizziness;

  • sweating, flushing (sudden warmth, redness, or tingly feeling);

  • a general ill feeling; or

  • watery eyes, vision changes.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Bethanechol dosing information

Usual Adult Dose for Urinary Retention:

Initial dose: 5 to 10 mg orally once to obtain minimum effective dose; repeat the same amount at hourly intervals until satisfactory response occurs or a maximum of 50 mg has been given
Maintenance dose: 10 to 50 mg orally 3 to 4 times a day

Comments:
-Drug effects sometimes appear within 30 minutes and are usually maximal within 60 to 90 minutes.
-Drug effects persist for about 1 hour.
-If necessary, the effects of this drug can be eradicated promptly by atropine.

Uses: For the treatment of acute postoperative and postpartum nonobstructive (functional) urinary retention; and for neurogenic atony of the urinary bladder with retention

Usual Adult Dose for Neurogenic Bladder:

Initial dose: 5 to 10 mg orally once to obtain minimum effective dose; repeat the same amount at hourly intervals until satisfactory response occurs or a maximum of 50 mg has been given
Maintenance dose: 10 to 50 mg orally 3 to 4 times a day

Comments:
-Drug effects sometimes appear within 30 minutes and are usually maximal within 60 to 90 minutes.
-Drug effects persist for about 1 hour.
-If necessary, the effects of this drug can be eradicated promptly by atropine.

Uses: For the treatment of acute postoperative and postpartum nonobstructive (functional) urinary retention; and for neurogenic atony of the urinary bladder with retention

What other drugs will affect bethanechol?

Other drugs may affect bethanechol, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any medicine you start or stop using.

Further information

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.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.