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What Is Mebeverine Hydrochloride?

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  • Written By: Tricia Ellis-Christensen
  • Edited By: Jessica Seminara
  • Last Modified Date: 16 July 2014
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    Conjecture Corporation
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Mebeverine hydrochloride is a medication that is used to treat irritable bowel syndrome or other conditions that cause spastic movements in the intestinal tract. The drug has limited availability and isn’t offered in some locations, including the US. Many patients with irritable bowel syndrome find this unfortunate because the medicine’s low side effect profile is appealing. On the other hand, even if mebeverine were more widely accessible, not all patients could use the medication because it has some important contraindications.

Medical professionals describe mebeverine hydrochloride as an antispasmodic drug that is also a muscarinic receptor antagonist. This simply means the medication affects the muscarinic receptors, diminishing their activity. The principal response in the body to this action is a reduction in spasms in the smooth muscles of the gut. For conditions like irritable bowel syndrome, reducing these spasms often results in greater comfort and more regular bowel movements. To get the most benefit from the drug, it is usually taken three times a day with meals.

Medications like mebeverine hydrochloride were developed so many years ago, in the 1960s, that they are no longer available in all places. This drug may be obtained by prescription in several regions of the UK, in Iran, and elsewhere. It is not available in the US, despite evidence that it can work effectively. The decision not to market it in the United States is unrelated to safety or efficacy. Rather, there are medications in the US that may work as well.

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Some patients with irritable bowel syndrome may consider it unfortunate that this medication is not more widely available. The advantage of mebeverine hydrochloride is that it has very few side effects. The one adverse reaction that may be noted is severe allergic response. Symptoms such as hives, difficulty breathing, and swelling of the face, lips, and tongue indicate extreme allergy and require emergency treatment. Otherwise, the medication has few other reliably reported adverse reactions, except when it is used in elders, where it is associated with a greater side effect incidence.

Mebeverine hydrochloride also has contraindications and warnings. It is not advised for children under the age of ten, though there is some disagreement on this point and recommendations exist for pediatric dosing. Medical professionals similarly disagree on whether this drug is safe for pregnant or nursing women. It’s suggested that members of these populations thoroughly discuss the risks and benefits of using the medication.

Physicians agree that patients who have blood disorders called porphyrias should avoid mebeverine. Another contraindication is a condition called paralytic ileus. Few medication interactions with mebeverine hydrochloride have been reported. Nevertheless, patients should tell their physicians about all drugs they use to avoid any potential problems.

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