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What Does Dicyclomine Overdose Look Like? (& Treatment)

Dicyclomine is a medication that is classified as an anticholinergic. It is primarily prescribed for irritable bowel syndrome. It is sold under the brand name Bentyl.

When you take more of this drug than a doctor prescribes, it can lead to severe side effects and may result in an overdose.

People might abuse dicyclomine to experience the euphoria that is possible, especially at high doses. It can be taken alone or mixed with other drugs, such as alcohol, when someone is abusing it. 

Dicyclomine Overdose Symptoms

Taking too much of this drug in an attempt to achieve a high can lead to an overdose. The following symptoms can occur during an overdose:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Loss of body movement
  • Fainting
  • Dilated pupils
  • Weakness
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Seizures

Dose That Can Lead to an Overdose

There is not a specific dose of this drug that has been associated with overdose. However, the highest recorded maximum oral dose in humans was 1500 mg in an adult. This case was classified as an overdose.

In adults, the general dosage for oral dicyclomine is 20 mg four times per day for one week. This dose can be increased to 40 mg four times daily unless side effects become intolerable.

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If the drug fails to achieve efficacy within two weeks at the 40 mg dose, it is typically discontinued.

Dangers of a Dicyclomine Overdose

There are dangers associated with dicyclomine use regardless of the dose someone is taking. There is a higher risk of these dangers among people taking large doses of the drug.

This drug may cause disorientation or confusion due to its effects on the central nervous system. The central nervous system effects can also lead to the following:

  • Short-term memory loss
  • Weakness
  • Anxiety
  • Stuttering or stammering when speaking
  • Hallucinations
  • Trouble falling asleep
  • Loss of muscle control in the extremities

This drug can cause people to sweat less, which increases the risk of heat stroke. This problem is more likely with someone who is in a hot environment. The following are symptoms of a heat stroke:

  • High body temperature
  • Less sweating
  • Flushed skin
  • Increased heart rate
  • Altered behavior or mental state
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Increased respiration rate
  • Headache

If a heat stroke is left untreated, it can lead to vital organ damage or death in the most severe instances.

There is also the risk of anticholinergic toxicity when someone takes high doses of this drug. This can happen independently of an overdose. The symptoms of anticholinergic toxicity may include the following:

  • Flushing
  • Dilated pupils
  • Fever
  • Altered mental state
  • Increased heart rate
  • Urinary retention
  • Tremors
  • Reduced bowel sounds
  • Functional Ileus (a type of intestinal obstruction)
  • High blood pressure
  • Myoclonic jerking (abnormal movements caused by sudden muscle contractions)

Since these symptoms are similar to those of an overdose, you should still seek immediate medical attention if this toxicity occurs. This toxicity is also a medical emergency, just like an overdose, that requires professional help at a hospital. 

How to Help Someone During a Dicyclomine Overdose

If you suspect that another person is overdosing on dicyclomine, call 911. It is imperative to follow all the instructions the 911 dispatcher provides.

Dicyclomine Overdose

If someone is experiencing an overdose, do not leave their side unless it is necessary to quickly get to a phone to call 911. While waiting for emergency services, keep an eye on the person’s breathing and check their pulse frequently.

If the person no longer has a pulse, the 911 dispatcher can provide instructions on how to provide CPR. It is important to continue giving CPR until emergency crews arrive to assess the person and take over.

Since vomiting is possible when an overdose occurs, turn the person onto their side. This can reduce the risk of them aspirating in their vomit, which could lead to choking or pneumonia.

Seizures can happen with a dicyclomine overdose. If the person starts to seize, move any movable objects to prevent them from knocking into anything. Never hold them down or put anything into the person’s mouth during a seizure.

If there is a thermometer available, check the person’s temperature if they are not having a seizure. This can help to determine if heat stroke is a risk as a result of the overdose. 

An altered mental status is possible when someone is overdosing on dicyclomine. If the person becomes aggressive as a result of this, step back and observe them from a distance.

If possible, determine if the person used dicyclomine with any other substances, such as opioids or alcohol. Using multiple drugs at the same time can result in the paramedics needing to take a different approach to stabilize the person once they get on the scene.

If it can be determined how long the person has been abusing dicyclomine and at what dose, relay this information to the dispatcher. This information is critical, so paramedics and emergency medical staff know how to treat the person once they start to provide treatment for their overdose. 

Act Quickly

Anyone who experiences a dicyclomine overdose needs immediate help. If you suspect an overdose, don’t hesitate to call 911.

Sources

Bentyl. RxList. Retrieved March 2019 from https://www.rxlist.com/bentyl-drug/patient-images-side-effects.htm

(July 2006) Bentyl. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Retrieved March 2019 from https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2007/007409s040,007961s026,008370s031lbl.pdf

(June 2018) Bentyl Dosage. Drugs.com. Retrieved March 2019 from https://www.drugs.com/dosage/bentyl.html

Dicyclomine, Oral Tablet. Healthline. Retrieved March 2019 from https://www.healthline.com/health/dicyclomine-oral-tablet

(August 2017) Heat Stroke. Mayo Clinic. Retrieved March 2019 from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heat-stroke/symptoms-causes/syc-20353581

(January 2019) Anticholinergic Toxicity. Medscape. Retrieved March 2019 from https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/812644-overview#a1

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