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Bethanechol

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

Medically reviewed by Drugs.com on Dec 17, 2018 – Written by Cerner Multum

What is bethanechol?

Bethanechol stimulates your bladder to empty.

Bethanechol is used to treat urinary retention (difficulty urinating), which may occur after surgery, after delivering a baby, and in other situations.

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

Important Information

Take bethanechol on an empty stomach 1 hour before or 2 hours after meals to prevent nausea and vomiting.

Bethanechol may cause dizziness or fainting, especially when you rise from a sitting or lying position. Rise slowly to avoid becoming dizzy, falling, or hurting yourself.

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

Before taking this medicine

Before taking this medication, tell your doctor if you

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

Bethanechol is in the FDA pregnancy category C. This means that it is not known whether bethanechol 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 bethanechol passes into breast milk. Do not take this medication without first talking to your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

How should I take bethanechol?

Take bethanechol 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 bethanechol on an empty stomach 1 hour before or 2 hours after meals to prevent nausea and vomiting.

Store bethanechol 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 bethanechol overdose include abdominal discomfort, increased salivation or watering mouth, flushing or hot feeling of the skin, sweating, nausea, and vomiting.

What should I avoid while taking bethanechol?

Bethanechol may cause dizziness or fainting, especially when you rise from a sitting or lying position. Rise slowly to avoid becoming dizzy, falling, or hurting yourself.

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

Bethanechol side effects

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

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

  • shortness of breath, wheezing, or tightness in your chest.

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

  • dizziness or drowsiness;

  • headache;

  • nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or abdominal discomfort;

  • slow heartbeats followed by fast heartbeats;

  • flushing or warmth about the face;

  • sweating; or

  • tearing eyes.

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.

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?

Before taking bethanechol, tell your doctor if you are taking any of the following medicines:

You may not be able to take bethanechol, or you may require a dosage adjustment or special monitoring during treatment if you are taking any of the medicines listed above.

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

Further information

  • Your pharmacist has more information about bethanechol 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.

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

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