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Antispasmotics Print E-mail
by Ron Kennedy, M.D., Santa Rosa, CA

Dr. Kennedy Antispasmodics relax the smooth muscles of the gut helping to prevent or relieve painful spasms. These medications are taken 30 to 45 minutes before meals to help relieve cramping that usually occurs after eating. Antispasmotics are the most commonly prescribed medications for treating irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Antispasmodics improve symptoms of IBS and reduce pain. 2 They can substantially reduce stomach and intestinal cramps and the urgency for a bowel movement after eating when taken 30 minutes before meals, especially meals that are expected to cause cramps.

Side effects may include drowsiness, dry mouth, blurred vision, or inability to urinate. Antispasmodics are taken for cramps, before meals expected to cause symptoms, or when symptoms would be inconvenient. If constipation is the main symptom, antispasmodics may not work so well. In some cases, use of antispasmodics can make constipation worse. If you are pregnant, ask your doctor about taking antispasmodics. Some studies have suggested that some antispasmodics can increase the heartbeat of a fetus, and that some are related to birth defects, though they have not been proven to cause these defects. People who have glaucoma or urinary retention should use antispasmodics.

Here is a list of commonly used antispasmotics:

  • atropine sulfate
  • dicyclomine hydrochloride
  • hyoscyamine sulfate
  • propantheline bromide (Pro-Banthine )
  • scopolamine


The information in this article is not meant to be medical advice.�Treatment for a medical condition should come at the recommendation of your personal physician.

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