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Hyoscine butylbromide is the generic term for the trade name Buscopan®, a drug used for spasms. In the field of medicine, spasms refer to sudden and involuntary lengthening and shortening of muscles. German pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim GmbH, a member of the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA), markets the drug. Hyoscine butylbromide is also known as scopolamine butylbromide and butylhyoscine.
The hyoscine butylbromide substance is obtained from a species of the plant genus Duboisia. It is mainly classified as an antispasmodic, which means that it is a drug used to suppress of muscle spasms, or involuntary contractions. Specifically, this medication targets the spasms that occur in the abdomen. The medication accomplishes this by relaxing the muscles of the site where the spasms are taking place, which could be organs such as the stomach or intestines.
This medication has valuable advantages over similar drugs. Boehringer Ingelheim GmbH offers Buscopan® Plus, a version of the drug that combines hyoscine butylbromide with an analgestic known as paracetamol. Thus it can act like an analgesic in that it relieves pain, but it goes further by identifying the source of the pain itself, in this case the muscle spasm. Also, it does not cross the blood-brain barrier like other antispasmodics such as the tropane alkaloid drug scopolamine. This prevents hyoscine butylbromide from causing central nervous system side effects such as drowsiness.
Muscle spasms is not the only medical condition category that hyoscine butylbromide treats. It is also used for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), which concerns abdominal pain and cramps, and is accompanied by bowel movements such as constipation, flatulence and diarrhea. Patients can therefore use the drug to fight against regular abdominal pain and cramps without the symptoms that indicate the presence of IBS. Other uses include fighting menstrual pain and bladder spasms.
Buscopan® is manufactured as a 10-milligram tablet, to be swallowed with a full glass of water. There is no maximum time period for taking the drug. Patients are advised, however, to see their doctors if the spasms or cramps remain after a reasonable amount of time.
Generally, hyoscine butylbromide does not have any specific or significant side effects. Additionally, there are very few reports of the drug used as a sedative, or to reduce excitement or irritability, which consequently makes it an unlikely candidate for widespread abuse. Currently, there is no evidence of significant fetal risk from hyoscine butylbromide during pregnancies. Patients, however, are advised not to surpass the recommended dosage.