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Levsin vs. Atropine

  • Medical and Pharmacy Editor: John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP
    John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP

    John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP

    John P. Cunha, DO, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Cunha's educational background includes a BS in Biology from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and a DO from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Kansas City, MO. He completed residency training in Emergency Medicine at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey.

Are Levsin and Atropine the Same Thing?

Levsin (hyoscyamine) and atropine are both types of anticholinergics used to treat different conditions.

Levsin is used to treat different stomach and intestinal disorders, including peptic ulcer and irritable bowel syndrome. Levsin is also used to control muscle spasms in the bladder, kidneys, or digestive tract, and to reduce stomach acid. Levsin is sometimes used to reduce tremors and rigid muscles in people with symptoms of Parkinson's disease, and is also used as a drying agent to control excessive salivation, runny nose, or excessive sweating.

Atropine is used to treat bradycardia (low heart rate), reduce salivation and bronchial secretions before surgery, and as an antidote for overdose of cholinergic drugs or mushroom poisoning.

Side effects of Levsin and atropine that are similar include dizziness, blurred vision and vision problems, dry mouth, nausea, and decreased sweating.

Side effects of Levsin that are different from atropine include drowsiness, nervousness, headache, trouble sleeping (insomnia), constipation, vomiting, bloating, heartburn, changes in taste, problems with urination, impotence, loss of interest in sex, trouble having an orgasm, flushing, or dry skin.

Side effects of atropine that are different from Levsin include sensitivity to light, loss of balance, hypersensitivity reactions (such as skin rash), or rapid heartbeat. Excess doses of atropine sulfate may cause side effects such as palpitations, dilated pupils, difficulty swallowing, hot dry skin, thirst, dizziness, restlessness, tremor, fatigue, and problems with coordination.

Levsin may interact with alcohol, amantadine, haloperidol, MAO inhibitors, phenothiazines, or antidepressants.

Atropine may interact with pralidoxime.

What Are Possible Side Effects of Levsin?

Common side effects of Levsin include:

  • dizziness,
  • drowsiness,
  • nervousness,
  • blurred vision,
  • dry mouth,
  • vision problems,
  • headache,
  • trouble sleeping (insomnia),
  • constipation,
  • nausea,
  • vomiting,
  • bloating,
  • heartburn,
  • changes in taste,
  • problems with urination,
  • impotence,
  • loss of interest in sex,
  • trouble having an orgasm,
  • flushing,
  • dry skin, and
  • decreased sweating.

Tell your doctor if you experience unlikely but serious side effects of Levsin including:

  • mental/mood changes (e.g., confusion, unusual excitement),
  • fast/irregular heartbeat,
  • loss of coordination, or
  • slurred speech.

What Are Possible Side Effects of Atropine?

Common side effects of Atropine include:

  • dry mouth,
  • blurred vision,
  • sensitivity to light,
  • lack of sweating,
  • dizziness,
  • nausea,
  • loss of balance,
  • hypersensitivity reactions (such as skin rash), and
  • rapid heartbeat (tachycardia).

Excess doses of atropine sulfate may cause side effects such as palpitations, dilated pupils, difficulty swallowing, hot dry skin, thirst, dizziness, restlessness, tremor, fatigue, and problems with coordination.

What Is Levsin?

Levsin (hyoscyamine) is one of the principal anticholinergic/antispasmodic components of belladonna alkaloids used to treat different stomach and intestinal disorders, including peptic ulcer and irritable bowel syndrome. Levsin is also used to control muscle spasms in the bladder, kidneys, or digestive tract, and to reduce stomach acid. Levsin is sometimes used to reduce tremors and rigid muscles in people with symptoms of Parkinson's disease, and is also used as a drying agent to control excessive salivation, runny nose, or excessive sweating. Levsin is available in generic form.

What Is Atropine?

Atropine Sulfate Injection is an antimuscarinic agent used to treat bradycardia (low heart rate), reduce salivation and bronchial secretions before surgery, as an antidote for overdose of cholinergic drugs or mushroom poisoning.

What Drugs Interact With Levsin?

Levsin may interact with amantadine, haloperidol, MAO inhibitors, phenothiazines, or antidepressants. Tell your doctor all medications you use. Levsin should be used only when prescribed during pregnancy. This drug passes into breast milk. Consult your doctor before breastfeeding.

What Drugs Interact With Atropine?

Atropine Sulfate may interact with other drugs. Tell your doctor all medications and supplements you use. During pregnancy, Atropine Sulfate should be used only if prescribed. Consult your doctor before breastfeeding.

How Should Levsin Be Taken?

Dosage of Levsin for adults and children 12 years of age and older: 1 to 2 tablets every four hours or as needed. Do not exceed 12 tablets in 24 hours. Pediatric patients 2 to under 12 years of age: ½ to 1 tablet every four hours or as needed. Do not exceed 6 tablets in 24 hours.

How Should Atropine Be Taken?

Initial single doses of Atropine Sulfate in adults vary from 0.5 mg to 1 mg (5 - 10 mL of the 0.1 mg/mL solution) for antisialagogue and other antivagal effects, to 2 to 3 mg (20 - 30 mL of the 0.1 mg/mL solution) as an antidote for organophosporous or muscarinic mushroom poisoning.

Reviewed on 3/8/2019

References:
DailyMed. Levsin Product Information.
https://dailymed.nlm.nih.gov/dailymed/drugInfo.cfm?setid=0918c44e-54f6-47b9-b927-4f1b0b394152&audience=consumer
American Regent. Atropine Product Information.
https://www.americanregent.com/media/1494/atropine-prescribing-information.pdf

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