Hyoscyamine is a drug that is commonly used to treat gastrointestinal tract disorders, such as irritable bowel syndrome and peptic ulcer disease. Some patients may take it for bladder problems, pancreatitis, to help control Parkinson's disease symptoms, to reduce saliva production, and to treat some heart problems. Hyoscyamine is an anticholinergic agent, which work to decrease the production of stomach acid and other secretions. They also calm the motions of the intestinal tract and stomach to relieve symptoms.
Certain safety precautions must be adhered to when taking hyoscyamine. Patients should not consume alcohol or other medications or supplements that can cause drowsiness. They should take care to stay well hydrated and to avoid the sun on hot days to avoid heatstroke. Dry mouth can also occur, so patients should see a dentist regularly and maintain good oral hygiene.
Hyoscyamine may not be appropriate for every patient. Children are more vulnerable to possible side effects. The elderly may also have trouble adjusting to this medication. Women who are breastfeeding should not take it, as it can pass into breast milk. Pregnant women should discuss possible risks with a doctor.
In addition, hyoscyamine may be inappropriate for people with certain medical conditions. This can include people in general poor health, those suffering from a fever, and those with diarrhea. Patients with brain damage, paralysis, and nerve problems may be unable to use it. Other medical conditions that may present a problem include kidney problems, coronary heart disease, and a fast or irregular heartbeat.
Patients must disclose all other drugs and supplements they take before beginning a course of hyoscyamine. It can interact with antihistamines, monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), and tricyclic antidepressants. This medication may also interact with narcotic pain drugs, ketoconazole, and other anticholinergic agents, as well as antacids.
There are some side effects associated with hyoscyamine. Patients should inform the prescribing doctor of persistent symptoms, such as dizziness, drowsiness, and blurred vision. Flushing, constipation, and dry mouth may also be bothersome. Other people have reported experiencing difficulty urinating, headache, and a sensitivity to light.
Serious side effects warrant a doctor's immediate attention. These can include diarrhea, eye pain, and an irregular heartbeat. Hallucinations, loss of coordination, and loss of consciousness may rarely occur. Other people may notice a skin rash or unusual mood or behavior changes.
Hyoscyamine may be given as an injection at a medical care facility. Patients who take the drug at home are typically given a prescription for a liquid, tablet, or extended-release capsule form of hyoscyamine. Extended-release tablets should never be crushed or split. Patients should take care to follow all dosage instructions carefully.