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    28 June 2008

    Safety of Buscopan (it's safe)

    Buscopan (hyoscine-N-butylbromide) is widely used as a spasmolytic for barium enemas, CT colonography, and abdominal MRI to improve the quality of the examination. It's a safe drug: safer than many people realise. Here is some sensible advice from the authors of a recent review article
    All radiologists and radiographers either supervising examinations where this drug is used or those administering it directly to the patient need to be aware of the true contraindications. This should not include all patients with ischaemic heart disease or those with glaucoma. We would recommend that only patients with unstable cardiac disease have Buscopan withheld and that all patients are told to attend hospital immediately if, following the examination, they develop painful, blurred vision, in one or both eyes.
    R. Dyde, A.H. Chapman, R. Gale, A. Mackintosh and D.J.M. Tolan
    Precautions to be taken by radiologists and radiographers when prescribing hyoscine-N-butylbromide
    Clinical Radiology 2008 July; 63 (7): 739-743.

    Most radiologists feel that Buscopan is more effective than glucagon, and there are studies to support this view, such as this one by Rogalla et al (Radiology 2005;236:184-188).

    I really can't figure out why it's not licensed in the United States. In the US it is approved for the treatment of flatulent colic in horses although not if the horses are going to be eaten by humans. (Link to product info)

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