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Bethanechol

Drug Class: Commonly Known As: Category:
Cholinergic Agonist

Bethanechol - What is it for

​Bethanechol is used to treat urinary retention (difficulty passing urine) caused by surgery, drugs or other factors. It helps the bladder muscle to squeeze better, and improve your ability to pass urine.

Bethanechol - Side Effects, Precautions, and Contraindications

What side effects can Bethanechol cause?

  • ​Drowsiness
    • This may affect your ability to drive and use machinery. Do not drive or do things which requires you to be alert.
  • Facial flushing where the skin on your face feels hot
  • Nausea, vomiting
    • Take small but frequent meals, and avoid fatty or spicy food.
  • Headache
    • You may take Paracetamol to relieve the headache.
  • Sweating

Consult your healthcare professional immediately if you experience slow heart rate of less than 50 beats per minute, shortness of breath or fainting.

The symptoms of a drug allergy include one or more of the following:

  • Swollen face/eyes/lips/tongue
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Itchy skin rashes over your whole body

If you experience any of these symptoms, you should stop your medication and see your healthcare professional immediately.

Before taking Bethanechol, what precautions must I follow?

​Inform your healthcare professional if:

  • You are allergic to this medication or any of the other ingredients of this medication
  • You are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding
  • You have recently went for bladder or intestinal surgery
  • You have or ever had:
    • Asthma
    • Parkinson’s disease
    • Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid gland)
    • Epilepsy (fits)
    • Stomach ulcers
    • Slow heart rate or low blood pressure
    • Heart problems such as blockage of arteries in your heart

What food or medicine must I avoid when I take Bethanechol?

Avoid drinking alcohol as it may increase the risk of drowsiness.

Inform your healthcare professional if you are taking or intend to take any other medication, supplements, traditional medications or herbal remedies.

Bethanechol - Dosage and How to Use

How should Bethanechol be used?

  • ​Do not stop taking your medication without checking with your healthcare professional.
  • This medication should be taken one hour before meals or two hours after meals to reduce nausea and vomiting 
  • This medication is usually taken three to four times daily.

What should I do if I miss a dose?

​If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember. Then take your next dose at the usual time. Do not take two doses to make up for the missed dose.

What should I do if I overdose?

Bethanechol - Handling

How should I handle Bethanechol safely?

Bethanechol - Storage

How should I store Bethanechol?

Keep away from children;#Keep in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight;#

How should I dispose of Bethanechol safely?

​Pack this medication into a black trash bag and seal it tightly before throwing into the rubbish chute or bin.

Bethanechol - Additional Information

  • Updated on Monday, September 30, 2019
  • Article contributed by PSS National Medication Information Workgroup

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