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Urecholine Side Effects

Generic Name: bethanechol

Note: This page contains side effects data for the generic drug bethanechol. It is possible that some of the dosage forms included below may not apply to the brand name Urecholine.

For the Consumer

Applies to bethanechol: elixir, solution, tablet

As well as its needed effects, bethanechol (the active ingredient contained in Urecholine) may cause unwanted side effects that require medical attention.

Severity: Moderate

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

Minor Side Effects

Some bethanechol side effects may not need any medical attention. As your body gets used to the medicine these side effects may disappear. Your health care professional may be able to help you prevent or reduce these side effects, but do check with them if any of the following side effects continue, or if you are concerned 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 (the active ingredient contained in Urecholine) 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

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 (the active ingredient contained in Urecholine) 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 (the active ingredient contained in Urecholine) 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

It is possible that some side effects of Urecholine may not have been reported. These can be reported to the FDA here. Always consult a healthcare professional for medical advice.

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.