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What is Dicyclomine Taken For? Uses, Dosage, & Side Effects

Key Takeaways

  • Dicyclomine (Bentyl) is an anticholinergic, or antispasmodic, used to treat functional bowel or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). 

  • Dicylomine relieves muscle spasms in the gastrointestinal tract and relaxes the smooth muscle of your stomach, thus reducing cramping. 

  • This medication can cause serious health problems such as heat stroke, gut problems, psychosis, drowsiness, dizziness, and blurred vision.

Dicyclomine is a medication that can provide relief from pain due to muscle spasms in the stomach by directly interfering with the activity of the smooth muscle. Please continue reading to learn more about this drug.

What is the drug dicyclomine used for?

Dicyclomine hydrochloride (brand name Bentyl) is used to treat symptoms of functional bowel or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). It belongs to a group of medications called anticholinergic drugs or antispasmodics. 

What does dicyclomine do to your stomach?

Dicylomine relaxes the smooth muscle of your stomach and bowel, reducing cramping. Anticholinergic agents such as dicyclomine hydrochloride relieve muscle spasms in the gastrointestinal tract by binding to muscarinic receptors and blocking the action of a neurotransmitter (natural substance) called acetylcholine. Acetylcholine is believed to be muscle-activating. Therefore, blocking acetylcholine promotes the relaxation of the smooth muscle and reduces spasms in the gastrointestinal tract. 

How to take dicyclomine? 


Dicyclomine comes in the form of a 10 mg (milligrams) capsule, 20 mg tablet, 10 mg/5 mL oral syrup, and 10 mg/mL intramuscular injection solution. To treat spasms in the digestive tract, the oral tablet, oral capsule, and oral syrup are taken by mouth, usually four times a day. Try to take your medicine at around the same time every day. Read the prescription label carefully and take dicyclomine exactly as advised. Do not change the dose, dosage frequency, or treatment duration without consulting your healthcare provider.


The typical starting dose of oral dicyclomine for controlling muscle spasms in people with irritable bowel syndrome is 20 mg, taken 4 times daily. Your healthcare professional will increase the dicyclomine dose to 40 mg orally four times daily after one week of taking the starting dose. 

Your doctor will recommend discontinuing dicyclomine if you don't experience any relief from symptoms within two weeks of taking this medication. Discontinuation of dicyclomine is also recommended if you have side effects that require lowering the dose to less than 80 mg per day, 

The injection solution of dicyclomine is given intramuscularly if you cannot take oral medication. The bioavailability of the intramuscular form of dicyclomine is twice as much as the oral forms. Therefore, the recommended intramuscular dose of dicyclomine is 10 to 20 mg four times daily. Duration for dicyclomine intramuscular injection is about 1 to 2 weeks, while oral medication is not tolerated.

Missed dose

If you miss a dose of dicyclomine, take it as soon as you remember. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose or extra medicine to make up for a missed dose.


Store at room temperature. Keep all medicines safely out of reach of children and pets.


In case of a dicyclomine overdose, call your local poison control center or the national poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Call 911 if someone has collapsed, has difficulty breathing, is unresponsive, or has had a seizure. Signs and symptoms of dangerous levels of dicyclomine may include upset stomach, vomiting, headache, dizziness, blurred vision, dilated pupils, dry mouth, hot and dry skin, difficulty swallowing, nervousness, abnormal excitement, or hallucinations.

What are the side effects of dicyclomine?

Common adverse effects of dicyclomine are listed below. Tell your doctor if these side effects are severe or persist after a few days.

  • Dizziness

  • Drowsiness

  • Headache

  • Dry mouth

  • Stomach pain

  • Gas or bloating

  • Upset stomach

  • Constipation

  • Vomiting

  • Loss of appetite

  • Numbness or tingling

  • Weakness

  • Double vision or blurry vision

  • Problems with urination

Some dicyclomine adverse effects are more serious. Call your doctor for medical advice immediately or seek medical attention in the emergency room if you develop:

  • Signs of an allergic reaction such as skin rash, hives, itching

  • Difficulty breathing or swallowing 

  • Hot, dry, flushed skin

  • Memory problems

  • Confusion

  • Hallucinations

  • Lack of balance

  • Extreme fatigue

  • Muscle weakness

  • Sleep difficulties

  • Anxiety

  • Abnormal excitement

  • Mood or behavior changes 

  • Changes in mental alertness

  • Rapid, pounding, or irregular heartbeat

  • Fainting

  • Coma

What are some risks and warnings for dicyclomine therapy?

Treatment with dicyclomine hydrochloride for irritable bowel syndrome carries some risks. This medication can cause serious health problems. The risk can be even higher for certain people. Some of the risks of taking dicyclomine include:

Heat Stroke

Dicyclomine can cause decreased sweating, leading to fever and heat stroke, especially in hot weather. Avoid strenuous exercise outdoors in hot weather and stay well hydrated while on this medication. Call your doctor immediately if you develop fever, hot, dry, flushed skin, fast heartbeat, dizziness, nausea, confusion, or other symptoms of heat stroke.

Gut Problems

Because of its effect of slowing gastrointestinal motility, dicyclomine should be used with caution in people who have had certain procedures on the digestive tract, for example, colostomy or ileostomy. Tell your doctor if you have food poisoning or diarrhea (taking dicyclomine can put you at risk of a dangerous problem called toxic megacolon). Diarrhea can be an early symptom of incomplete intestinal obstruction (a blockage in your gut), and dicyclomine can be harmful in such a situation. 

Drowsiness, Dizziness, and Blurred Vision

Dicyclomine can cause drowsiness, dizziness, and blurred vision, which can put you at risk of accidents and injuries. Wait to see how this medicine affects you before driving, operating machinery, or doing any hazardous activities. Do not drink alcohol while on dicyclomine as alcohol can make these side effects worse.


People taking dicyclomine can develop central nervous system (CNS) symptoms such as disorientation, confusion, short-term memory problems, insomnia, difficulty speaking, problems with balance, abnormal excitement, agitation, inappropriate behavior, hallucinations, and coma. Tell your doctor immediately if you develop these symptoms. They usually go away within 12-24 hours of stopping dicyclomine. 

Risk in Infants

There are reports of dicyclomine syrup causing serious respiratory symptoms in infants, including shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, respiratory collapse, seizures, fainting, irregular heartbeat, loss of muscle tone, coma, and death. It is unclear if these serious complications are directly related to dicyclomine. Dicyclomine should not be given to infants less than 6 months of age or nursing mothers. 

Who should not take dicyclomine?

Certain people are at a high risk of health complications from taking dicyclomine.

Allergic reactions

Before starting treatment with this medication, tell your doctor if you have ever had an allergic reaction to dicyclomine, other anticholinergic drugs, or any other medications.

Drug interactions

Give your doctor and pharmacist a complete list of your medications, including prescription drugs, over-the-counter medicines, dietary supplements, and herbal products. There can be possible interactions between dicyclomine and other drugs such as antacids, antihistamines, tricyclic antidepressants, MAO inhibitors, Parkinson’s medications, diet pills, heart medications, narcotic painkillers, sedatives, tranquilizers, sleeping pills, and medications used to treat asthma, anxiety, mental illness, irregular heartbeat, seizures, motion sickness, peptic ulcers, and urinary retention.

Medical history

Tell your doctor if you have or ever had glaucoma, an enlarged prostate gland, difficulty urinating, acid reflux (heartburn), hiatal hernia, severe ulcerative colitis, intestinal blockage, severe constipation, myasthenia gravis, overactive thyroid, high blood pressure, rapid or irregular heartbeat, heart disease, congestive heart failure, autonomic neuropathy (nerve disease), liver disease, or kidney disease.

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, could be pregnant, are planning a pregnancy, or are breastfeeding. Call your doctor immediately if you become pregnant while on dicyclomine. Do not breastfeed while on dicyclomine. 

Older adults are at an increased risk of adverse effects from dicyclomine. Talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of taking this medicine if you are over 65 years of age. 

Tell your doctor you are on dicyclomine before any surgery, including dental procedures. 

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  1. https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a684007.html#

  2. https://dailymed.nlm.nih.gov/dailymed/drugInfo.cfm?setid=e576f409-d319-4878-9863-25988be7fde1

  3. https://reference.medscape.com/drug/bentyl-dicyclomine-341987