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What You Need to Know about Bentyl (Dicyclomine)

Bentyl is a medication that doctors prescribe to alleviate intestinal and stomach spasms. It is most commonly used for irritable bowel syndrome. It is also known generically as dicyclomine.

Though rare, some people abuse this medication to experience euphoria.

Its peak effects are felt within 90 minutes of use, though dicyclomine has a half-life of nine to 10 hours.

This drug is not commonly tested in drug screenings.

Bentyl Information

Dicyclomine is a type of anticholinergic drug. Overall, abuse rates of this type of medicine are low.

When people do abuse this drug, they do so because of its psychedelic and mood-altering effects. The effects that people seek range from increased sociability and euphoria to hallucinations.

When abusing this drug, there is the potential for side effects. The following are the less serious side effects:

  • Drowsiness
  • Blurry vision
  • Mild constipation
  • Dizziness
  • Nervousness
  • Stuffy nose
  • Dry mouth
  • Weakness

Dicyclomine can also cause serious side effects that require medical attention. The risk of these side effects increases when someone takes this drug at higher doses.

  • Severe constipation
  • Increased body temperature
  • Pounding heartbeat
  • Hallucinations, confusion, or unusual behavior or thoughts

People who abuse this drug are also at risk for an overdose. Overdose symptoms may include the following:

  • Headache
  • Vomiting
  • Dilated pupils
  • Dizziness
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Excitement
  • Upset stomach
  • Blurry vision
  • Dry, hot skin
  • Dry mouth
  • Nervousness
  • Hallucinations

Dangerous Effects of Bentyl

When someone is abusing dicyclomine, they are at a higher risk for some of the most serious side effects. Some people have reported experiencing psychosis when using this medication. Symptoms included disorientation, hallucinations, agitation, confusion, short-term memory loss, and insomnia. When this issue occurs, the symptoms typically go away within 12 to 24 hours of the person no longer using Bentyl.

Heat exhaustion is another problem with Bentyl abuse. This can occur since the drug reduces how much a person sweats. Sweating is an important mechanism for cooling the body.

Heat exhaustion is a condition where the body has overheated. If someone has heat exhaustion and they do not immediately start cooling the body, they are at risk of experiencing heat stroke, which can be fatal in some instances.

When someone is experiencing heat exhaustion, the following symptoms may be present:

  • Heavy sweating
  • Dizziness
  • Rapid, weak pulse
  • Muscle cramps
  • Headache
  • Moist, cool skin
  • Faintness
  • Fatigue
  • Low blood pressure when the person stands up
  • Nausea

When taking high doses of dicyclomine, people are at risk for anticholinergic toxicity. The symptoms of this toxicity are relatively similar to those of a dicyclomine overdose.

  • Pupil dilation
  • Mental state changes
  • Urinary retention
  • Decreased bowel sounds
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Flushing of the skin
  • Increased heart rate
  • Tremors
  • Intestinal obstruction
  • Sudden muscle contractions that can result in abnormal body movements

Like an overdose, anticholinergic toxicity is considered a medical emergency.

How Long Does Dicyclomine Detox Take?

There are no guidelines regarding how long it takes to detox from Bentyl. The peak values of this drug occur 60 to 90 minutes after someone takes an oral dose.

The metabolism of this drug was not studied. It is known that most excretions are through urine.

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One study determined that the mean half-life of plasma eliminated for this drug was about 1.8 hours, though this study used a single dose of the drug. In other studies, plasma concentrations were found for up to 24 hours.

The established half-life of this drug is nine to 10 hours.

During the detox process, it is possible to experience withdrawal symptoms.

  • Nervousness
  • Sweating
  • Depression
  • High blood pressure
  • Anxiety
  • Weakness
  • Anorexia

These withdrawal symptoms are based on information from a single case study. This same person also experienced insomnia, occasional tremors, blurry vision, agitation, and abdominal cramps during the withdrawal process. When her condition was checked six months after withdrawal began, she had no more withdrawal symptoms and showed no drug-seeking behavior.

How Long Can Bentyl Be Detected on a Drug Test?

when Bentyl was detected on a drug test

Dicyclomine does not show up on traditional drug tests. There is no direct information regarding how long this drug remains in urine, hair, blood, or saliva.

Given the drug’s half-life, it can be estimated that it would not remain in urine, saliva, or blood for more than three to seven days. Hair tests can usually show the presence of drugs for a longer time.

If someone is taking Bentyl and they take a drug test, it is possible for the test to have a false positive for LSD. If the person was not legally prescribed dicyclomine, this could be problematic when trying to explain the false positive result for LSD.

If someone has a legal prescription for this medication, they should bring proof of this whenever they go for a drug test. It is unknown if the dose of the drug makes it more or less likely that someone will experience a false positive.

The false positive results are typically observed with urine screenings. This type of drug test is the most common type used for pre-employment screenings and drug tests as a result of legal repercussions. 


(September 2000) Abuse Potential of Anticholinergics. Pharmacopsychiatry. Retrieved March 2019 from

(March 1996) Anticholinergic Drug Abuse and Misuse. CNS Drugs. Retrieved March 2019 from

Dicyclomine. MedlinePlus. Retrieved March 2019 from

(October 2018) Bentyl. RxList. Retrieved March 2019 from

Bentyl. Epocrates. Retrieved March 2019 from

(September 2013) A Rare Case of Dicyclomine Abuse. Journal of Young Pharmacists. Retrieved March 2019 from

Drugs of Abuse Urine Assays Cross-Reactivity List. WakeMed. Retrieved March 2019 from

(October 29, 2018) Dicyclomine: Six Things You Should Know. Retrieved March 2019 from

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