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Pharmacologic class: Cholinergic
Therapeutic class: Urinary and GI tract stimulant
Pregnancy risk category C
Stimulates parasympathetic nervous system and cholinergic receptors, leading to increased muscle tone in bladder and increased frequency of ureteral peristaltic waves. Also stimulates gastric motility, increases gastric tone, and restores rhythmic GI peristalsis.
Tablets: 5 mg, 10 mg, 25 mg, 50 mg
Indications and dosages
➣ Postpartal and postoperative non-obstructive urinary retention; urinary retention caused by neurogenic bladder
Adults: 10 to 50 mg P.O. three to four times daily; dosage may be determined by giving 5 or 10 mg q hour until response occurs or a total of 50 mg has been given.
• Hypersensitivity to drug
• GI or GU tract obstruction
• Active or latent asthma
• Atrioventricular conduction defects
• Coronary artery disease
• Seizure disorders
• Peptic ulcer disease
Use cautiously in:
• sensitivity to cholinergics or their effects and tartrazine (some products)
• pregnant or breastfeeding patients
• Give drug on empty stomach 1 hour before or 2 hours after a meal to help prevent nausea and vomiting.
CNS: headache, malaise, seizures
CV: bradycardia, hypotension, heart block, syncope with cardiac arrest
EENT: excessive lacrimation, miosis
GI: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal discomfort, belching
GU: urinary urgency
Respiratory: increased bronchial secretions, bronchospasm
Skin: diaphoresis, flushing
Drug-drug. Anticholinergics: decreased bethanechol efficacy
Cholinesterase inhibitors: additive cholinergic effects
Depolarizing neuromuscular blockers: decreased blood pressure
Ganglionic blockers: severe hypotension
Procainamide, quinidine: antagonism of cholinergic effects
Drug-herbs. Angel's trumpet, jimson-weed, scopolia: antagonism of cholinergic effects
• Monitor blood pressure. Be aware that hypertensive patients may experience sudden blood pressure drop.
• Stay alert for orthostatic hypotension, a common adverse effect.
• Monitor fluid intake and output and residual urine volume.
• Tell patient that drug is usually effective within 90 minutes of administration.
• Advise patient to take drug on empty stomach 1 hour before or 2 hours after a meal to avoid GI upset.
• Instruct patient to move slowly when sitting up or standing, to avoid dizziness or light-headedness from blood pressure decrease.
• As appropriate, review all other significant and life-threatening adverse reactions and interactions, especially those related to the drugs, tests, and herbs mentioned above.
bethanechol chlorideA cholinergic agent with muscarinic effects, which stimulates the parasympathetic system, increasing smooth muscle activity of the gastrointestinal (GI) and genitourinary (GU) tracts.
GI and GU atony—e.g., neurogenic bladder, atony of stomach after vagotomy, postoperative gastric retention, acute postoperative and postpartum urinary retention, reflux esophagitis, GERD/GORD.
Dizziness, lightheadedness, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, increased saliva, urinary urgency, sweating, flushing, watery eyes, or headache.