Mechanism of Action
Dicyclomine relieves smooth muscle spasm of the gastrointestinal tract. Animal studies indicate that this action is achieved via a dual mechanism:
- a specific anticholinergic effect (antimuscarinic) at the acetylcholine-receptor sites with approximately 1/8 the milligram potency of atropine (in vitro, guinea pig ileum); and
- a direct effect upon smooth muscle (musculotropic) as evidenced by dicyclomine's antagonism of bradykinin- and histamine-induced spasms of the isolated guinea pig ileum.
Atropine did not affect responses to these two agonists. In vivo studies in cats and dogs showed dicyclomine to be equally potent against acetylcholine (ACh)- or barium chloride (BaCl2)-induced intestinal spasm while atropine was at least 200 times more potent against effects of ACh than BaCl2. Tests for mydriatic effects in mice showed that dicyclomine was approximately 1/500 as potent as atropine; antisialagogue tests in rabbits showed dicyclomine to be 1/300 as potent as atropine.
BENTYL can inhibit the secretion of saliva and sweat, decrease gastrointestinal secretions and motility, cause drowsiness, dilate the pupils, increase heart rate, and depress motor function
Absorption and Distribution
In man, dicyclomine is rapidly absorbed after oral administration, reaching peak values within 60-90 minutes. Mean volume of distribution for a 20 mg oral dose is approximately 3.65 L/kg suggesting extensive distribution in tissues. Elimination The metabolism of dicyclomine was not studied The principal route of excretion is via the urine (79.5% of the dose). Excretion also occurs in the feces, but to a lesser extent (8.4%). Mean half-life of plasma elimination in one study was determined to be approximately 1.8 hours when plasma concentrations were measured for 9 hours after a single dose. In subsequent studies, plasma concentrations were followed for up to 24 hours after a single dose, showing a secondary phase of elimination with a somewhat longer half-life.
In controlled clinical trials involving over 100 patients who received drug, 82% of patients treated for functional bowel/irritable bowel syndrome with dicyclomine hydrochloride at initial doses of 160 mg daily (40 mg four times daily) demonstrated a favorable clinical response compared with 55% treated with placebo (p < 0.05).
Last reviewed on RxList: 2/1/2013
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
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