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What is Buscopan?

Andrew Bellingham

Andrew Bellingham

Pharmacist | 20+ Years | BPharm | Dip Clin Pharm

Buscopan belongs to a group of medications called antispasmodics, and contains the active ingredient hyoscine butylbromide.

It is used to relieve painful stomach cramps, including those linked with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and menstrual cramps

It is important to not confuse this medication with hyoscine hydrobromide, which is used to treat motion sickness symptoms.

What’s the Difference Between Buscopan IBS Relief and Buscopan Cramps?

Buscopan comes as a tablet, and is sold as two separate (but essentially identical) products: IBS Relief & Cramps. 

Both have the same active ingredient hyoscine butylbromide, and in the same strength (10mg). 

Buscopan IBS Relief can be found in most pharmacies and supermarkets, and can be purchased as an over-the-counter medicine whereas Buscopan Cramps can only be purchased from behind the pharmacy counter. 

Who Can and Can't Use It?

The NHS advises that most adults and children from the age of 6 can take Buscopan.

You should only take Buscopan IBS Relief if you have been previously diagnosed with IBS, and if you are self-medicating, you should not take it for longer than a two week period without consulting your doctor. 

There are certain groups of people who should not use Buscopan. These include: 

  • Pregnant women, or women who are breastfeeding 
  • People with certain medical conditions such as glaucoma, myasthenia gravis, or obstructive disorders of the gastrointestinal tract
  • People who are allergic to hyoscine butylbromide, or any other ingredients in the medication

How Long Does It Take to Work?

Both Buscopan IBS Relief and Buscopan Cramps work very quickly, and can begin to relieve stomach cramps within the first 15 minutes of taking the tablet.

What Are the Side Effects?

Some common side effects (more than 1 in 100 people) include: 

  • Dry mouth
  • Blurred vision
  • Constipation
  • Increased heart rate

Less common, but more severe side effects include: 

  • Painful red eye with loss of vision
  • Difficulty urinating

If you encounter these side effects, then it’s important that you stop taking the medication at once and phone your doctor

Where Can I Buy Buscopan?

You can get both Buscopan IBS Relief and Buscopan Cramps from your local pharmacy, with the latter only available from behind the counter.

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