Bethanechol (patient information)
Why this medication is prescribed
Bethanechol is used to relieve difficulties in urinating caused by surgery, drugs, or other factors.
This medication is sometimes prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
How this medication should be used
Bethanechol comes as a tablet to take by mouth. Bethanechol usually is taken two to four times a day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take bethanechol exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Bethanechol usually is taken at evenly spaced intervals during the day.
Take this medication on an empty stomach (at least 1 hour before or 2 hours after meals) to prevent stomach upset.
Before taking bethanechol:
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to bethanechol or any other drugs.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications you are taking, especially procainamide (Pronestyl), quinidine (Quinaglute), medications for colds or nasal congestion, and vitamins.
- tell your doctor if you have or have ever had asthma, a bladder infection, epilepsy, high blood pressure, heart disease, Parkinson's disease, an overactive thyroid gland, or ulcers.
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking bethanechol, call your doctor.
- you should know that this drug may make you drowsy. Do not drive a car or operate machinery until you know how this drug affects you.
- remember that alcohol can add to the drowsiness caused by this drug.
What to do if you forget a dose
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.
Minor Side Effects
Bethanechol may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- upset stomach
- sweating or flushing
Severe Side Effects
If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately:
- shortness of breath
- slow heart rate (pulse less than 50 beats per minute)
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online [at http://www.fda.gov/MedWatch/report.htm] or by phone [1-800-332-1088].
Storage conditions needed for this medication
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medication.
In case of emergency/overdose
In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.
Keep all appointments with your doctor.
Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.