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What You Need To Know About Bentyl (Dicyclomine)

Prescribing, Dosing, Side Effects, And Use During Pregnancy And Nursing


Updated June 03, 2014

What is Bentyl?

Bentyl (dicyclomine) is an anticholinergic. It prevents spasms in the muscles of the gut and bladder by relaxing them, and reduces the amount of stomach acid produced.

How Is Bentyl Taken?

Bentyl comes in the forms of capsule, tablet, and oral liquid. It is usually taken four times per day. For best results, Bentyl should be taken 30 minutes to 1 hour before eating a meal. Bentyl should not be taken at the same time as an antacid. Antacids can reduce the effectiveness of Bentyl.

Why Is Bentyl Prescribed?

Bentyl may be prescribed for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), diverticulosis, colic and bladder spasms.

What Do I Do If I Miss A Dose?

If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If your next dose should be taken soon, just take that dose. Don't double up, or take more than one dose at a time.

Who Should Not Take Bentyl?

Tell your doctor if you have ever had any of the following conditions:

  • Congestive heart failure
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Esophagitis
  • Glaucoma
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Myasthenia gravis
  • Prostate enlargement - BPH
  • Severe ulcerative colitis when bowel movements have stopped

What Are The Side Effects?

Serious side effects of Bentyl include mental changes such as confusion, short-term memory loss, hallucinations or agitation. In most cases, these side effects are gone in the 12 to 24 hours after the patient stops taking Bentyl.

Other side effects can include drowsiness, dizziness, and a decreased ability to perspire (which can contribute to heat stroke). See the Bentyl side effects page for a complete list.

Are There Any Sexual Side Effects?

Bentyl has caused impotence in some men who take it.

What Medications Can Bentyl Interact With?

Bentyl may interact with the following medications:

  • Amantadine (Symmetrel)
  • Antacids (discussed above)
  • Antidepressants (Haldol, Elavil)
  • Antihistamines (Benadryl)
  • Cardiac rhythm regulators (Pronestyl, quinidine)
  • Cimetidine (Tagamet)
  • Digoxin (Lanoxin)
  • Metoclopramide (Reglan)
  • Monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors (Nardil, Parnate)
  • Prednisone
  • Sedatives (Ambien, Dalmane, Restoril)
  • Thiazide diuretics (Dyazide, hydrochlorothiazide)

Are There Any Food Interactions?

Bentyl is not known to interact with any foods. People taking Bentyl should avoid alcoholic drinks as the two together could have an increased sedative effect. Take care to avoid alcohol from unexpected sources, such as over the counter cough suppressants or cold products (Nyquil, for example). Bentyl can cause constipation, and patients should get enough fiber and drink enough water to counteract this effect.

Is Bentyl Safe During Pregnancy?

The FDA has classified Bentyl as a type B drug. The effect that Bentyl has on an unborn child has not been studied extensively. Bentyl should only be used during pregnancy if clearly needed. Notify the prescribing doctor if you become pregnant while taking Bentyl. Bentyl does pass into breast milk, and could affect a nursing infant. Bentyl can suppress the production of breast milk in nursing mothers.

How Long Can Bentyl Be Taken Safely?

Under the supervision of a physician, Bentyl can be safely used long-term.

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