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Questran vs Bentyl

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Questran Information

Bentyl Information


Dosage Information

Side Effects





Patients suffering from gastrointestinal disorders such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) or high cholesterol often need medications that can manage their symptoms and improve the quality of life. Questran and Bentyl are two drugs frequently prescribed for these conditions. Both have different mechanisms of action but contribute to alleviating digestive discomforts in patients. Questran, also known as cholestyramine, is a bile acid sequestrant that works by reducing cholesterol levels in the blood by binding to bile acids in your intestines and preventing their absorption. On the other hand, Bentyl or dicyclomine acts on muscarinic acetylcholine receptors primarily found within smooth muscle tissue of the gut, thereby relieving spasms associated with IBS.

Questran vs Bentyl Side By Side

Brand NameQuestranBentyl
ContraindicationsShould not be taken with certain heart medicines, anticoagulants like warfarin, and thyroid hormones.Patients with conditions such as myasthenia gravis or glaucoma and those who have trouble urinating due to an enlarged prostate.
CostFor brand name, around $200 for 60 packets. For generic, costs start at around $50 for 60 doses.For brand name, approximately $130 for 30 capsules. For generic, prices can start as low as just over a dollar ($1).
Generic NameCholestyramineDicyclomine
Most Serious Side EffectSigns of allergic reaction, abnormal bleeding or bruising, severe stomach/abdominal pain and black/bloody stools.Signs of an allergic reaction, symptoms suggestive of heat stroke, severe constipation or little to no urination, rapid heart rate or fluttering in your chest, confusion, hallucinations.
Severe Drug InteractionsInterferes with the absorption of a wide range of drugs.Not specifically mentioned, but caution is advised due to its anticholinergic effects.
Typical Dose1-8 packets/day, with 2 packets/day being sufficient for most.20 mg, taken four times per day. Can be increased to 40 mg four times daily if necessary.

What is Questran?

Cholestyramine (the generic name for Questran) was one of the first bile acid sequestrants to be approved by the FDA in 1973. This drug works by binding to certain substances in the intestine, helping remove cholesterol from the body, making it valuable for lowering high cholesterol levels. On another note, Dicyclomine (with Bentyl as a brand name), falls under a class of drugs known as antispasmodics and is primarily used for treating symptoms associated with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Approved by the FDA in 1950, it works mainly by blocking acetylcholine activity on smooth muscles and glandular cells in your gastrointestinal tract. While both serve different functions — Questran focusing on reducing cholesterol levels while Bentyl targets gastrointestinal issues — they symbolize great advancements within their respective areas of treatment.

What conditions is Questran approved to treat?

Questran has been approved for the management of several medical conditions, including:

  • Reduction in serum and LDL cholesterol levels in patients with primary hypercholesterolemia
  • Relief of pruritus associated with partial biliary obstruction
  • Postoperative control of increased bile flow in patients who have undergone ileal resection.

How does Questran help with these illnesses?

Questran helps to manage high cholesterol by limiting the amount of bile acids available in your intestines. It does this by binding to the bile acids, forming a complex that is excreted from your body. Bile acids are substances produced by your liver that play an important role in digestion and absorption of fats in your small intestine. When levels of these acids decrease, because they are being excreted along with Questran, the liver compensates by converting more cholesterol into bile acids which results in lower blood cholesterol levels.

On the other hand, Bentyl plays a different role as it manages irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms such as stomach cramping or bloating. It works on smooth muscle tissue present throughout our bodies but particularly within our digestive tract. By blocking acetylcholine - a neurotransmitter responsible for causing muscles contraction - Bentyl can reduce spasms in gastrointestinal tract hence relieving discomfort associated with IBS.

What is Bentyl?

Bentyl, which is a brand name for dicyclomine, is an anticholinergic medication that acts as a smooth muscle relaxant, commonly used to treat symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). It works by blocking the action of acetylcholine at muscarinic receptors in the gastrointestinal tract. This results in decreased contraction and spasms of stomach and intestinal muscles. Bentyl was first approved by the FDA in 1950. As dicyclomine does not bind to or inhibit enzymes involved in cholesterol synthesis and transport like Questran does, its side-effect profile differs significantly from that drug's. Notably, it can cause dry mouth, blurred vision, heart palpitations and urinary retention due to its systemic anticholinergic effects - common side effects not typically seen with Questran use. The benefits on gut motility offered by Bentyl can be particularly beneficial for patients suffering from IBS who have not found satisfactory relief using other treatments such as bile acid sequestrants like Questran.

What conditions is Bentyl approved to treat?

Bentyl, also known as dicyclomine, is a medication that's approved by the FDA for the treatment of:

  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Other functional conditions related to the gastrointestinal tract

Its primary function is to reduce symptoms such as stomach cramps and spasms in patients who suffer from these conditions.

How does Bentyl help with these illnesses?

Bentyl is a medication that acts by blocking the action of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter involved in the transmission of nerve impulses. Acetylcholine plays roles in many processes in the body, including muscle contraction and relaxation, and digestive system function. By reducing its activity, Bentyl can alleviate symptoms associated with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), such as abdominal pain and spasms. The action on acetylcholine may also result in side effects like dry mouth or blurred vision due to reduced bodily secretions. Compared to Questran which works primarily by binding bile acids in your intestines to form a product that is removed from the body, Bentyl provides direct relief for muscle spasms within the gastrointestinal tract which often characterizes IBS conditions. It's usually prescribed when patients do not respond adequately to other forms of treatment or alongside them for optimal results.

How effective are both Questran and Bentyl?

Both cholestyramine (Questran) and dicyclomine (Bentyl) are commonly prescribed medications, but they treat significantly different conditions. Cholestyramine is a bile acid sequestrant that was approved by the FDA in 1973 for reducing high levels of cholesterol in the blood, whereas dicyclomine is an antispasmodic and anticholinergic agent that was approved by the FDA in 1950 to treat irritable bowel syndrome.

The effectiveness of both drugs has been well studied over time. A double-blind clinical trial conducted in 1984 showed that cholestyramine effectively lowered LDL cholesterol levels, thus reducing risks associated with heart disease. Dicyclomine's efficacy was highlighted in a randomized controlled trial from 1998 which demonstrated its significant benefits for patients suffering from irritable bowel syndrome symptoms including abdominal pain and diarrhea.

A comprehensive review published in 2007 reaffirmed cholestyramine's role as an effective primary or supplementary treatment for hypercholesterolemia. Despite having some side effects such as constipation or bloating, it is generally well-tolerated among adults and can be especially beneficial when used alongside dietary modifications.

On the other hand, dicyclomine continues to be considered one of the first-line treatments for managing symptoms related to irritable bowel syndrome due to its proven efficacy and safety profile despite potential side effects such as dry mouth or blurred vision. It works optimally at doses around 20-40 mg four times daily providing considerable relief from gut muscle spasms.

In summary, while these two medicines have very distinct uses - Questran primarily for lowering high cholesterol levels and Bentyl mainly utilized for easing IBS-related discomfort - their established histories attest to their value within their respective fields.

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At what dose is Questran typically prescribed?

Oral dosages of Questran range from 1-8 packets/day, but studies have suggested that 2 packets/day are sufficient for managing high cholesterol levels in most people. Adolescents may be started on a lower dosage depending on their weight and overall health condition. In either population, the dosage can be increased after a few weeks if there is no improvement or response to initial treatment. However, it's important not to exceed the maximum dose of 8 packets/day.

On the other hand, Bentyl is typically prescribed at an initial dose of 20 mg taken four times per day (80 mg/day total). This can be reduced based on patient response and tolerability; some patients respond well to as little as 10-20 mg per day. The maximum daily dose should not exceed 160 mg under any circumstances.

At what dose is Bentyl typically prescribed?

Bentyl treatment usually starts with a dosage of 20 mg, taken four times per day. If necessary, the dose can be increased to 40 mg, again taken four times daily. However, this higher dosage should only be considered if there is no response to the initial 20 mg dose after an appropriate period of time. Maximum dose for Bentyl is set at 160 mg/day divided into four doses and spaced approximately 6 hours apart. As with any medication regimen, it's critical that patients adhere strictly to their doctor's instructions and regularly monitor their symptoms in order to gauge efficacy.

What are the most common side effects for Questran?

Common side effects of Questran include:

  • Constipation
  • Abdominal discomfort or pain
  • Nausea
  • Acid or sour stomach
  • Belching, bloating, indigestion
  • Diarrhea
  • Heartburn
  • Loss of appetite (Anorexia)
  • Rash and itching skin

Whereas Bentyl has been known to cause:

  • Dizziness, drowsiness (Somnolence)
  • Dry mouth
  • Blurred vision
  • Nervousness
  • Flushing or hot flashes
  • Nausea
  • Increased heart rate

It is important to note that while these lists enumerate possible side effects for each medication, not every patient will experience them. Always consult your healthcare provider with any concerns about potential side effects.

abstract image of a patient experiencing side effect

Are there any potential serious side effects for Questran?

While comparing Questran to Bentyl, it's important to be aware of potential serious side effects associated with each. For Questran:

  • Signs of allergic reaction may occur, such as hives, difficulty breathing, swelling in your face or throat.
  • Abnormal bleeding or bruising can happen due to an impact on vitamin K absorption.
  • Gastrointestinal issues like severe stomach/abdominal pain and black/bloody stools could indicate a serious condition.

For Bentyl:

  • It can potentially affect heart rhythms leading to fast/irregular heartbeat and severe dizziness which might cause you to pass out;
  • Allergic reactions are also possible: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing;
  • It may result in decreased sweating and increased body temperature causing fever-like symptoms; -Severe constipation for prolonged periods or painful/difficult urination point towards complications.

If any such symptoms appear while taking either medication, medical help should be sought immediately.

What are the most common side effects for Bentyl?

Bentyl, a medication frequently used for irritable bowel syndrome, can cause certain side effects. Some of these may include:

  • Dry mouth and increased thirst
  • Blurred vision or large pupils
  • Nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Sleep problems (insomnia)
  • Difficulty urinating or an overheated feeling
  • Constipation
  • Confusion in some older adults
  • Less sweating with an increased skin temperature which could result in heat stroke on hot days.

As always, it's crucial to discuss any potential concerns with your healthcare provider before starting a new medication.

Are there any potential serious side effects for Bentyl?

While Bentyl is often effective in treating irritable bowel syndrome, it's critical to keep an eye out for potential severe side effects. These may include:

  • Signs of an allergic reaction such as hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat
  • Symptoms suggestive of heat stroke (such as feeling too hot even when feeling cool), a sudden lack of sweating, dry skin and large pupils
  • Severe constipation or little to no urination
  • Rapid heart rate or fluttering in your chest
  • Confusion, hallucinations (seeing things that are not there)
  • Unusual thoughts or behaviors; Loss of balance or coordination.

If you encounter any of these symptoms after taking Bentyl, stop the medication immediately and consult with your healthcare provider.

Contraindications for Questran and Bentyl?

Questran and Bentyl, like many other medications, may exacerbate certain symptoms or adverse effects in some individuals. If you notice any severe side effects or an increase in discomfort after starting these medications, please seek immediate medical attention.

Neither Questran nor Bentyl should be taken if you are taking certain types of medication. For instance, Questran can interfere with the absorption of a wide range of drugs including heart medicines (like digoxin), certain anticoagulants (like warfarin) and thyroid hormones — so you must always inform your physician about which medications you're taking prior to starting on Questran. As for Bentyl, it's contraindicated for patients with conditions such as myasthenia gravis or glaucoma and those who have trouble urinating due to an enlarged prostate.

Always consult with your doctor before beginning either treatment; they will need to review all current medications and health history to prevent dangerous drug interactions or complications from existing health conditions.

How much do Questran and Bentyl cost?

For the brand name versions of these drugs:

  • The price of 60 packets of Questran (4g each) averages around $200, which works out to about $3.33 per day.
  • The price for 30 capsules of Bentyl (10 mg) is approximately $130, working out to roughly $4.33/day.

Thus, if you're taking one packet per day as a typical dose for Questran, it could be less expensive on a per-day treatment basis than Bentyl. However, cost should not be your primary consideration in determining which drug is right for you.

For the generic versions of these medications:

  • Cholestyramine (the active ingredient in Questran) comes in packs from 60 up to 180 doses and costs start at around $50 depending on dosage and pack size. This translates into daily costs starting from about $0.83/day.
  • Dicyclomine (the active ingredient in Bentyl) comes in packs ranging from 20 up to hundreds with prices that can start as low as just over a dollar ($1). Thus, daily costs depend heavily on specific dosages and may range anywhere between around $0.30 - more than one dollar ($1+) per day.

As always though, keep in mind that individual needs vary widely so consultation with a healthcare provider is essential when choosing medication options.

Popularity of Questran and Bentyl

Cholestyramine, available under the brand name Questran, was estimated to have been prescribed to about 1.2 million people in the US in 2020. Cholestyramine is used primarily for reducing high levels of cholesterol in patients who are at risk of heart disease and cannot control their levels by diet alone. It works by binding with certain substances in your intestines which carry cholesterol into your body, thus helping excrete them out before they can be absorbed.

Dicyclomine, including brand versions such as Bentyl, was prescribed to approximately 3 million people in the USA during that same year. This medication is an antispasmodic drug used for treating symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Dicyclomine functions by relieving spasms or cramping within the muscles of your stomach and intestines.

While both medications treat different conditions and work on separate mechanisms within the body, it's worth noting that they are essential contributors towards improving patient quality of life when dealing with chronic conditions like hypercholesterolemia and IBS respectively.


Both Questran (cholestyramine) and Bentyl (dicyclomine) have established records of use in patients with gastrointestinal issues, backed by numerous clinical studies indicating their efficacy over placebo treatments. Due to their differing mechanisms of action, they are prescribed under different circumstances. Questran is primarily used for reducing high levels of cholesterol in the blood or relieving itching caused by blockage in the bile ducts of the gallbladder while Bentyl acts as an antispasmodic to treat irritable bowel syndrome.

In some cases, these medications may be combined depending on a patient's specific health needs but this decision requires careful consideration by a physician due to potential contraindications between them.

Questran and Bentyl are both available as generics representing significant cost savings especially for those paying out-of-pocket. Both drugs might require an adjustment period where effects may not be immediately noticeable.

The side effect profile differs between these two medications; common side effects of Questran include constipation and bloating whereas dizziness, dry mouth, blurred vision, nausea are frequently observed with Bentyl usage. Both drugs need close monitoring when starting treatment; any new adverse symptoms should warrant immediate medical attention.