- Type of Drug: Antispasmodic, anticholinergic.
- Prescribed for: Dicyclomine is prescribed for irritable bowel, spastic colon, and similar digestive problems.
Dicyclomine is a member of a very large class of drugs that have been used for many years to calm “nervous stomachs.” It was once widely prescribed for morning sickness during pregnancy. Dicyclomine and other anticholinergics work by inhibiting the effects of a neurohormone called acetylcholine in the stomach and intestines (GI tract). This effect directly reduces the mobility of the GI tract and slows the production of enzymes and other secretions. Dicyclomine and other members of this drug class may also cause dry mouth, reduce sweating, and cause dilation of the pupil, making it more difficult for you to become used to sudden bright light.
Cautions and Warnings
Do not take Dicyclomine if you are allergic to it or to any other belladonna-related drug. This drug should be used with caution if you have heart disease, Down syndrome, reduced mobility of the stomach and lower esophagus, fever, stomach obstruction, glaucoma, acute bleeding, hiatal hernia, intestinal paralysis, myasthenia gravis, kidney or liver dysfunction, rapid heartbeat, high blood pressure, or ulcerative colitis. Because this drug reduces your ability to sweat, its use in hot weather may cause heat exhaustion.
Possible Side Effects
- Common: constipation, decreased sweating, and dry mouth, throat, or skin.
- Less common: reduced breast-milk flow, difficulty swallowing, blurred vision, and sensitivity to bright light.
- Rare: drug allergy (skin rash or hives), confusion, eye pain, dizziness when rising quickly from a sitting or lying position, a bloated feeling, difficult or painful urination, drowsiness, unusual tiredness or weakness, headache, memory loss, and nausea or vomiting.
• Antacids containing calcium and/or magnesium, citrates, sodium bicarbonate, and carbonic anhydrase inhibitor drugs may slow the rate at which Dicyclomine is released from the blood, increasing its therapeutic effect and possible side effects.
• Do not mix Dicyclomine with other anticholinergic drugs, including Atropine, Belladonna, Clidinium, Glycopyrrolate, Hyoscyamine, Isopropamide, Propantheline, Scopolamine, and others because of the possibility of intensifying drug side effects.
• Dicyclomine can reduce stomach acidity and reduce the amount of Ketoconazole, an antifungal drug, absorbed into the blood after it is taken by mouth.
• Dicyclomine may counteract the effect of Metoclopramide in reducing nausea and vomiting.
• Taking Dicyclomine together with a narcotic pain reliever can increase the chances of severe constipation.
• Taking this drug or any other drug that slows the movement of stomach and intestinal muscles together with a potassium chloride supplement (especially one that comes in wax-matrix tablet form) can lead to excessive irritation of the stomach.
Take Dicyclomine on an empty stomach, 1/2 hour before to 2 hours after a meal.
Adult: 30 to 160 mg a day.
Child (age 2 and older): 10 mg 3 or 4 times a day.
Child (age 6 months to 2 years): 5 to 10 mg 3 or 4 times a day.
Child (under 6 months): not recommended.
Senior: older adults should begin with the lowest possible dose and increase their dosage only as needed.
The principal signs of overdose are blurred vision; clumsiness; confusion; difficulty breathing; dizziness; drowsiness; dry mouth, nose, or throat; rapid heartbeat; fever; hallucinations; weakness; slurred speech; excitement, restlessness, or irritability; warmth; and dry or flushed skin. Overdose victims should be taken to a hospital emergency room at once for treatment. ALWAYS bring the medicine bottle with you.
Children taking Dicyclomine may be more likely to develop high body temperature in hot weather and other drug side effects and should be carefully watched for side effects.
Call your doctor if you develop skin rash, flushing, or eye pain or if you develop other side effects such as dry mouth, urinary difficulty, constipation, or unusual sensitivity to light that are persistent or bothersome.
Brush and floss your teeth regularly while taking this drug. Because Dicyclomine can cause dry mouth, you may be more likely to develop cavities or other dental problems while you are taking it. Ice or hard candy can be used to relieve this side effect.
Constipation can be treated by using a stool-softening laxative.
Dicyclomine may make you drowsy or tired and can cause blurred vision. Be careful when driving or doing other tasks that require concentration and coordination.
If you forget to take a dose of Dicyclomine, take it as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the forgotten dose and continue with your regular schedule.
A few cases of human malformations were linked to Dicyclomine, but studies have shown that the drug has no effect on the developing baby. As with all other drug products, Dicyclomine should be used during pregnancy only when absolutely necessary.
Dicyclomine should not be used by nursing mothers because like other drugs in its group, it may reduce the amount of milk produced. Also, a few infants less than 3 months of age who were given Dicyclomine drops developed breathing difficulty that went away on its own after 20 to 30 minutes.
Older adults may be more susceptible to the side effects of this drug, especially memory loss, mental changes, and glaucoma, and may need less medicine to get a beneficial effect than a younger adult. Report any problems to your doctor at once.