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What Is Mebeverine?

By Maggie J. Hall
Updated May 17, 2024
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Physicians prescribe mebeverine for the treatment of bowel disorders that produce painful gastrointestinal spasms. Belonging to a group of medications known as musculotropic antispasmodics, the formulation is widely used in Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. Mebeverine is the generic name for the medication manufactured and sold under the names Colofac®, Dustpatal® and Dustpatalin®.

Mebeverine competes with the neurotransmitter acetylcholine for the muscarinic receptor sites in the bowel. For this reason, the drug is often classified as an antimuscarinic agent. By replacing acetylcholine, the medication blocks the nerve impulses to the brain that elicit spasms when the bowel becomes irritated for any reason. Researchers believe that the drug also inhibits calcium channel replenishment. Muscle contraction can be slowed by interference with calcium ion movement.

The medication does not usually interfere with the normal peristalic movement of the bowel, even though contraction of the smooth muscle is inhibited. Unlike other antispasmodic drugs, mebeverine is site specific. The medication does not generally compete with receptors throughout the body, but specifically attaches to sites only located in the bowel. Patients taking the medication do not suffer the side effects commonly associated with other antispasmodic or anticholinergic agents. This medication does not typically affect the cardiovascular or central nervous systems.

Patients frequently receive a prescription for mebeverine for the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Patients suffering from this disorder experience painful cramping, constipation, and diarrhea. With the bowel relaxed, these symptoms are generally less severe. Physicians might also use the medication for patients diagnosed with Chron’s disease, diverticulitis, or ulcerative colitis. It has also been prescribed for female patients experiencing dysmenorrhea.

Mebeverine is generally not recommended for patients under the age of 10 or over the age of 40. It is also generally not prescribed for patients diagnosed with porphyria. Health care professionals usually suggest that individuals take the antispasmodic two to three times daily, before meals. The most common side effects include diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. Some patients may experience increased fatigue levels.

Patients taking mebeverine rarely experience anaphylactic shock, but those who have breathing or swallowing difficulty after taking the medication should seek medical intervention immediately. Some patients taking the medication do suffer a serious side effect known as angioedema. This condition produces generalized swelling in the tissues beneath the skin and may affect breathing and swallowing. Patients who experience this side effect typically require medical assistance.

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