What You Need To Know About Bentyl (Dicyclomine)

Prescribing, Dosing, Side Effects, and Use During Pregnancy and Nursing

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Bentyl (dicyclomine) is a type of drug known as an anticholinergic. It is also an antispasmodic that prevents spasms in the muscles of the gut and bladder by causing those muscles to relax. In addition, this drug also reduces the amount of acid that is produced in the stomach.

Young woman taking a pill
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Bentyl may be prescribed to treat conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), diverticulosis, colic, and bladder spasms. Under the supervision of a healthcare provider, Bentyl can safely be used long term.

Before Taking

Talk to your healthcare provider about all medications, supplements, and vitamins that you currently take. While some drugs pose minor interaction risks, others may outright contraindicate use or prompt careful consideration as to whether the pros of treatment outweigh the cons in your case.

Precautions and Contraindications

Tell a healthcare provider if any of the following conditions are present now or have been diagnosed in the past:

  • Congestive heart failure
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Esophagitis
  • Glaucoma
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Myasthenia gravis
  • Prostate enlargement (BPH)
  • Severe ulcerative colitis when bowel movements have stopped

The FDA has classified Bentyl as a pregnancy type B drug. The effect that Bentyl has on an unborn child has not been studied extensively. Bentyl should only be used during pregnancy if clearly needed. Notify the prescribing healthcare provider if you become pregnant while taking Bentyl.

Bentyl should not be taken by people who are breastfeeding a baby, since Bentyl passes into breast milk and could affect a nursing infant.

Children under 6 months of age may experience severe side effects from this drug. Bentyl can also suppress the production of breast milk in people who are nursing.


Bentyl comes in the form of a capsule, a tablet, an oral liquid, and an intramuscular injection. It is usually taken four times per day. The injection is used only temporarily for one or two days.

To achieve the best results, Bentyl should be taken 30 minutes to one hour before eating a meal. Bentyl is not known to interact with any foods.

Bentyl should not be taken at the same time as an antacid, such as Tums, Rolaids, Gaviscon, Maalox, and Mylanta, as they may reduce the effectiveness of Bentyl.

The dosage of Bentyl needed will be determined by the prescribing healthcare provider. Take this medication exactly as prescribed. In some cases, the starting dose might be 10-20 milligrams (mg) up to four times a day.

If a dose is missed, take it as soon as it is remembered. If the next dose should be taken soon, just take that dose. Don't double up by taking more than one dose at a time.

Bentyl Side Effects

Serious side effects of Bentyl include mental changes such as confusion, short-term memory loss, hallucinations, or agitation. In most cases, these side effects will go away during the 12 to 24 hours after the patient stops taking Bentyl.

Some of the more common side effects include dry mouth, drowsiness, and dizziness. Bentyl could also lead to a decreased ability to perspire (which can contribute to heatstroke). Bentyl has caused impotence in some men who take it.

It is important to drink enough water while taking Bentyl, especially during hot weather or while exercising.

Bentyl can cause constipation, and patients should get enough fiber and drink enough water to counteract this effect.

Warnings and Interactions

Bentyl may interact with certain other medications. Tell the prescribing healthcare provider if any of these medications are also prescribed:

  • Symmetrel (amantadine)
  • Antacids
  • Antidepressants (Haldol, Elavil)
  • Antihistamines (Benadryl)
  • Cardiac rhythm regulators (Pronestyl, quinidine)
  • Tagamet (cimetidine)
  • Lanoxin (digoxin)
  • Reglan (metoclopramide)
  • Monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors (Nardil, Parnate)
  • Prednisone
  • Sedatives (Ambien, Dalmane, Restoril)
  • Thiazide diuretics (Dyazide, hydrochlorothiazide)

People taking Bentyl should avoid alcoholic drinks as the two together could have an increased sedative effect. Take care to avoid alcohol from unexpected sources, such as over-the-counter cough suppressants or products to treat colds (Nyquil, for example).

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the generic name for Bentyl?

    Dicyclomine is the generic name for Bentyl.

  • How quickly does Bentyl begin to work?

    Bentyl should be taken 30 minutes to an hour before a meal so that it has time to take effect before you eat. That said, always follow the instructions given by your prescriber.

  • Is Bentyl addictive?

    It is very rare for people taking Bentyl to become addicted, but some studies have shown that people can grow physically dependent on it. One case involved an 18-year-old woman who used dicyclomine for a year and a half without her prescriber's knowledge; through rehabilitation, she was able to discontinue the drug.

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5 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.
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