Bentyl vs Levsin – Comparison of Uses & Side Effects

Bentyl

It is the brand name of a medication called dicyclomine, which belongs to a group of medications known as anticholinergic (or antimuscarinic) agents.

This drug works by relieving intestinal spasms by blocking muscarinic receptors in the digestive tract.

It was first approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in 1950.

Uses

This medication is commonly used to treat irritable bowel syndrome, a common disorder which affects the large intestine.

Irritable bowel syndrome can be very frustrating to live with and can have a big impact on a sufferer’s everyday life. Common symptoms of IBS may include:

  • abdominal cramping or bloating that is usually relieved by passing a bowel movement;
  • mucus in the stool;
  • excess gas;
  • diarrhea or constipation.

Risk factors for irritable bowel syndrome may include:

  • food sensitivities, possibly caused by poor absorption of acids or sugars in food;
  • small intestinal bacterial overgrowth;
  • having a diet low in fiber;
  • abnormal movements of the colon and small intestines;
  • hypersensitivity to pain from a full bowel or gas;
  • gastroenteritis, a viral or bacterial infection of the intestines and stomach;
  • reproductive hormones may be off-balance in individuals with this condition;
  • psychological conditions, like – depression or anxiety, are observed in many sufferers with irritable bowel syndrome. But, these conditions have not been found to be a direct cause of irritable bowel syndrome;
  • alcohol – observational studies have concluded that most people with irritable bowel syndrome were regular alcohol consumers;
  • emotional stress.

Dosage

The usual initial recommended dosage is 20mg 4 times a day. After 7 days, the dosage may be increased to 40mg 4 times a day.

Note – it must not be used in children younger than 6 months old due to the increased risk of serious side effects.

Contraindications

You should not take this medication if you have:

  • a serious heart condition;
  • gastroesophageal reflux disease;
  • severe ulcerative colitis;
  • problems with urination;
  • toxic megacolon;
  • glaucoma;
  • myasthenia gravis;
  • a bowel obstruction or severe constipation.

Side Effects and Precautions

Common side effects may include:

  • drowsiness;
  • mild constipation;
  • blurred vision;
  • nervousness;
  • dizziness;
  • stuffy nose;
  • dry mouth;
  • weakness.

Less common side effects may include:

  • confusion;
  • unusual thoughts or behavior;
  • being unable to urinate;
  • stomach pain;
  • worsening of irritable bowel symptoms;
  • hallucinations;
  • feeling very thirsty;
  • bloating;
  • heavy sweating;
  • fluttering in your chest;
  • pounding heartbeats;
  • severe constipation.

Pregnancy & Breastfeeding

If you are pregnant, you should discuss all the risk and benefits with your healthcare provider before taking this medication.

It is not known exactly whether this anticholinergic agent passes into breast milk and may negatively affect a nursing baby. The producer suggests that you do not breastfeed while using this medication.

Drug Interactionsdrugs

It may negatively interact with other medications, especially:

  • Cymbalta (duloxetine);
  • gabapentin;
  • Flexeril (cyclobenzaprine);
  • Advil (ibuprofen);
  • Synthroid (levothyroxine);
  • Klonopin (clonazepam);
  • Topamax (topiramate);
  • Ativan (lorazepam);
  • Tylenol (acetaminophen);
  • Lyrica (pregabalin);
  • Nexium (esomeprazole);
  • Benadryl (diphenhydramine);
  • Zofran (ondansetron);
  • omeprazole;
  • orajel;
  • Zoloft (sertraline);
  • Percocet (acetaminophen/oxycodone);
  • Zantac (ranitidine);
  • prednisone;
  • tramadol;
  • Protonix (pantoprazole);
  • Singulair (montelukast);
  • Gas-X (simethicone);
  • Xanax (alprazolam);
  • Imodium (loperamide);
  • Prilosec (omeprazole);
  • lisinopril;
  • nortrel;
  • phenobarbital;
  • methadone;
  • Norco (acetaminophen/hydrocodone);
  • trazodone.

Alcoholalcohol

Drinking alcoholic beverages while taking this medication can notably increase the risk of certain side effects.

Levsin

It is the brand name of a drug called hyoscyamine, that belongs to a group of drugs called Belladonna alkaloids.

This medication works by decreasing the motion of the intestines and stomach and the secretion of stomach fluids.

Uses

This prescription medication is typically used for the treatment of peptic ulcer disease, bladder spasms, colic, diverticulitis, and irritable bowel syndrome.

Dosage

The usual recommended dose is 1 to 2 tablets every four hours. It is usually taken before a meal. The maximum recommended dose is 12 tablets in a 24 hour period.

Side Effects and Precautions

Side effects may include:

  • trouble having an orgasm;
  • feeling nervous;
  • constipation;
  • problems with urination;
  • drowsiness;
  • heartburn;
  • decreased sweating;
  • dizziness;
  • sleep problems (insomnia);
  • headaches;
  • changes in taste;
  • blurred vision;
  • loss of interest in sex;
  • impotence;
  • dry mouth;
  • bloating;
  • vomiting;
  • nausea.

Rare side effects may include:

  • eye pain;
  • diarrhea;
  • flushing (redness, warmth, or tingly feeling);
  • pounding or uneven heart rate;
  • unusual thoughts or behavior;
  • hallucinations;
  • confusion.

Contraindications

Do not take this medication if you have:

  • intestinal blockage;
  • kidney disease;
  • glaucoma;
  • problems with urination;
  • myasthenia gravis;
  • toxic megacolon;
  • severe ulcerative colitis;
  • an enlarged prostate.

Alcohol

Drinking alcoholic beverages can increase dizziness and drowsiness while you are taking this medication.

Drug Interactions

It may negatively interact with other medications, especially:

  • Desipramine (Norpramin);
  • antacids;
  • Haloperidol (Haldol);
  • Amantadine (Symadine, Symmetrel);
  • medications containing belladonna (Donnatal);
  • Amitriptyline (Elavil);
  • Phenelzine (Nardil);
  • Chlorpromazine (Thorazine);
  • Promazine (Sparine);
  • Clomipramine (Anafranil);
  • Protriptyline (Vivactil);
  • Doxepin (Sinequan);
  • Tranylcypromine (Parnate);
  • Fluphenazine (Prolixin);
  • Triflupromazine (Vesprin);
  • Imipramine (Tofranil);
  • Trimipramine (Surmontil);
  • Mesoridazine (Serentil);
  • Trimeprazine (Temaril);
  • Nortriptyline (Pamelor);
  • Trifluoperazine (Stelazine);
  • Thioridazine (Mellaril);
  • Perphenazine (Trilafon);
  • Promethazine (Phenergan);
  • Prochlorperazine (Compazine).

Pregnancy & Breastfeeding

It is not known exactly whether this anticholinergic agent passes into breast milk and may negatively affect a nursing baby. The producer suggests that you do not breastfeed while using this medication.

If you are pregnant, you should discuss all the risk and benefits with your healthcare provider before taking this medication.

Bottom Line – Bentyl vs Levsin

Bentyl (active ingredient – dicyclomine) is a prescription medication which is used to treat functional bowel or irritable bowel syndrome. Dicyclomine works by relieving spasms of the muscles in the intestines and stomach.

Levsin (active ingredient – hyoscyamine) is a medication that is used to treat irritable bowel syndrome and peptic ulcer as well as to reduce stomach acid.

In conclusion, both medications are used to treat irritable bowel syndrome but they have different active ingredients. Also, both have plenty of side effects, including – blurred vision, drowsiness, and anxiety.

References

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9283863
https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/neuroscience/hyoscyamine
https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases

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