Taking the Antispasmodic Buscopan for IBS

Buscopan (hyoscine butylbromide) is an antispasmodic medication used to treat abdominal pain and cramps from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), as well as menstrual cramps.

Man ready to take a pill sitting on couch
Milkos / Getty Images

How It Works

Buscopan differs from other antispasmodic medication in that it does not cross the blood/brain barrier and only minimal traces of the medicine finds their way into the bloodstream. Rather, Buscopan acts locally on the muscles in the abdomen to prevent spasms from occurring. The benefit of this difference is that it avoids nervous system side effects such as drowsiness or dizziness.


A meta-analysis undertaken to evaluate the effectiveness of IBS treatment options noted three clinical studies which indicated that Buscopan was more effective than placebo in relieving IBS symptoms. Additional clinical studies have found that Buscopan is well-tolerated with minimal side effects. However, a study using patients who suffered from "crampy abdominal pain", but not necessarily IBS, found that acetaminophen was just as effective as Buscopan as compared to placebo.

Buscopan is currently rarely prescribed in the United States but may be more commonly recommended by physicians outside the U.S.

If you decide to take Buscopan:

  • Buscopan tablets should be taken whole, not chewed.
  • Be sure to drink a full glass of water when taking Buscopan.
4 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Tytgat GN. Hyoscine ButylbromideDrugs. 2007;67(9):1343-1357. doi:10.2165/00003495-200767090-00007

  2. Ford AC, Talley NJ, Spiegel BMR. Effect of fibre, antispasmodics, and peppermint oil in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome: systematic review and meta-analysisBmj. 2008;337(nov13 2). doi:10.1136/bmj.a2313

  3. Mueller-Lissner S, Tytgat GN, Paulo LG. Placebo- and paracetamol-controlled study on the efficacy and tolerability of hyoscine butylbromide in the treatment of patients with recurrent crampy abdominal painAlimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics. 2006;23(12):1741-1748. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2036.2006.02818.x

  4. Wall GC, Bryant GA, Bottenberg MM, Maki ED, Miesner AR. Irritable bowel syndrome: a concise review of current treatment conceptsWorld J Gastroenterol. 2014;20(27):8796–8806. doi:10.3748/wjg.v20.i27.8796

By Barbara Bolen, PhD
Barbara Bolen, PhD, is a licensed clinical psychologist and health coach. She has written multiple books focused on living with irritable bowel syndrome.