Uses in Disorders of the Digestive System

Nonselective antimuscarinic drugs have been employed in the therapy of peptic ulcers (see Chapter 40) because they can reduce gastric acid secretion; they also have been used as adjunctive therapy in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome. Antimuscarinic drugs can decrease the pain associated with postprandial spasm of intestinal smooth muscle by blocking contractile responses to ACh. Some of the agents used for this disorder have only antimuscarinic activity (e.g., propanthe-line), while other drugs have additional properties that contribute to their antispasmodic action. Dicyclomine (Bentyl) and oxybutynin (Ditropan) at therapeutic concentrations primarily have a direct smooth muscle relaxant effect with little antimuscarinic action.

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