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Bethanechol (Urecholine®, etc.)

By: Dr. Dawn Ruben

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Overview

  • Bethanechol is a synthetic cholinergic ester that affects cholinergic receptors. These receptors exist throughout the body. In dogs and cats, the primary effect of bethanechol is on the urinary bladder's strength of contraction.
  • Bethanechol increases the speed of rhythmic contractions in esophageal muscle; increases tone in the esophageal sphincter muscle; increases gastric and intestinal tone and contractility; and increases tone in the detrusor muscle of the bladder wall.
  • It is a prescription drug and can only be obtained from a veterinarian or by prescription from a veterinarian.
  • It is not approved for use in animals by the Food and Drug Administration but veterinarians may prescribe it legally as an extra-label drug.

    Brand Names and Other Names

  • This drug is registered for use in humans only.
  • Human formulations: Urecholine® (Merck, Frosst), Duvoid® (Roberts), Myotonachol® (Glenwood), PMS-Bethanechol Chloride® (Glenwood), and various generics preparations
  • Veterinary formulations: None

    Uses of Bethanechol

  • Bethanechol is used to stimulate bladder contractions in dogs and cats.

    Precautions and Side Effects

  • While generally safe and effective, bethanechol may cause unwanted side effects in some animals.
  • Bethanechol should not be used in animals with known hypersensitivity or allergy to the drug.
  • This drug should not be used in animals with urinary outflow obstructions, after recent bladder or intestinal surgery, or when the bladder wall is weakened.
  • Bethanechol should also be avoided in animals with an overactive thyroid gland, gastrointestinal ulcers, inflammatory intestinal disorders, or gastrointestinal obstructions.
  • Bethanechol should be used with caution is animals with epilepsy, asthma, or low blood pressure.
  • Bethanechol may interact with other medications. Consult with your veterinarian to determine if other drugs your pet is receiving could interact with bethanecol. Such drugs include epinephrine, atropine, and procainamide.
  • Some of the side effects associated with bethanechol include tearing, vomiting, loss of appetite, diarrhea, and drooling.

    How Bethanechol is Supplied

  • Bethanechol is available as 5 mg, 10 mg, 25 mg and 50 mg tablets.
  • It is also available in 1 ml vials and ampuls at a 5 mg/ml concentration.

    Dosing Information

  • Medication should never be administered without first consulting your veterinarian.
  • For dogs, bethanechol is dosed at 2.5 to 10 mg per dog subcutaneously or orally three times a day.
  • For cats, bethanechol is dosed at 2.5 to 5 mg per cat two to three times per day.
  • The duration of administration depends on the condition being treated, response to the medication, and the development of any adverse effects. Be certain to complete the prescription unless specifically directed otherwise by your veterinarian. Even if your pet appears to feel better, the entire course of treatment should be completed to prevent relapse.




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