Hyoscyamine is a chemical found in certain plants of the Solanaceae family, including henbane (Hyoscyamus niger), mandrake (Mandragora officinarum), and deadly nightshade (Atropa belladonna). High amounts of hyoscyamine are present in the stems and leaves of young jimson weed (Datura stramonium) plants.
Extracts of the henbane plant containing hyoscyamine have been used for thousands of years to treat depression. The dried leaves of hyoscyamine-containing plants were smoked for the relief of acute asthma. Jimson weed, which contains high amounts of hyoscyamine, has been commonly used by Native Americans and Native Mexicans as a hallucinogen during various rituals. Hyoscyamine and other belladonna alkaloids were used to treat Parkinson's disease in the early 1900s.
Hyoscyamine has been used to relieve symptoms of various gastrointestinal disorders, including spasms, peptic ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome, pancreatitis, colic, and cystitis.
At this time, high-quality human trials supporting the use of hyoscyamine for any indication are lacking. In general, the use of hyoscyamine has been replaced by therapies with fewer adverse effects.
Anaspaz®, Anisodus tanguticus, anticholinergics, Atropa belladonna, atropine, belladonna, bellafolin, Cystospaz®, Cystospaz-M®, Datura stramonium, Datura wrightii, deadly nightshade, Egazil®, epoxide, Gastrosed®, henbane, hydroxyhyoscyamine, hyoscyamine beta-hydroxylase (H6H), hyoscyamine butylbromide, hyoscyamine sulfate, Hyoscyamus niger, Hyoscyamus reticulates, Hyoscyamini sulfas, Hyoscyaminum sulfuricum, iosciamina solfato (Italian), jimson weed, Levbid®, Levsin®, L-hyoscyamine, Mandragora officinarum, mandrake, scopolamine, Solanaceae (family).
Combination product examples: Belloid (hyoscyamine sulphate, ergotoxine, butabarbital), Donnatal® (atropine sulfate, hyoscyamine sulfate, phenobarbital, scopolamine hydrobromide), scopolia extract (SE) (hyoscyamine, scopolamine).
Note: This monograph does not include atropine. Atropine is a racemic mixture of D- and L-hyoscyamine.
These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
There is conflicting evidence from available trials to support the use of hyoscyamine to stop colon spasms during colonoscopy. Additional research is needed in this area.
Some studies have found that hyoscyamine may be of use in certain diagnostic procedures involving the gastrointestinal system. Further research is needed in this area.
Enema (colon surgery preparation)
Hyoscyamine has been taken by mouth to assess its effectiveness in the reduction of abdominal discomfort and colonic spasm during a barium enema. Further research is needed in this area.
The ability of hyoscyamine to inhibit intestinal motility during diagnostic procedures has been studied. Further research is needed in this area.
Topical application of Unguentum lymphaticum® (UL) (containing hyoscyamine) may be beneficial in patients with stage II postinflammatory obstructive lymphedema. Additional research is necessary in this area.
Myasthenia gravis is an autoimmune disorder of the nervous system. In limited research, treatment with hyoscyamine resulted in complete resolution of atrioventricular (AV) heart block. Additional research is needed in this area.
Combination therapy using hyoscyamine and desmopressin acetate appears safe for treating nocturnal enuresis (bedwetting) in older children who have had no success with other treatments. Additional research is needed.
Preparation for surgery
Chlorprothixene and intramuscular hyoscyamine given to children before anesthesia may be useful before surgery. Further research is needed in this area.
Several single and combination therapies utilizing hyoscyamine for ulcers have been used. Further research is necessary.
Anticholinergics are commonly used for the treatment of urinary frequency, urgency, and urge incontinence in elderly women. Hyoscyamine has been shown to benefit patients with this condition, but larger studies are necessary to confirm these findings.
Ureteral colic pain
At this time, evidence supporting the use of hyoscyamine for ureteral colic pain is lacking.