Drug alert: caution using hyoscine butylbromide (Buscopan) injections in those with heart disease

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Reports have emerged this week linking hyoscine butylbromide injections to serious adverse effects in patients with cardiac disease.

The injections, which are carried by our emergency care practitioners, have been linked to tachycardia, hypotension, and anaphylaxis, according to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) safety alert.

Hyoscine butylbromide, or Buscopan, is given intravenously or intramuscularly for acute muscular spasm.

Nine patients have reportedly died after receiving hyoscine butylbromide injection. The MHRA advice reminds clinicians that:

  • hyoscine butylbromide injection can cause serious adverse effects including tachycardia, hypotension, and anaphylaxis
  • these adverse effects can result in a fatal outcome in patients with underlying cardiac disease, such as those with heart failure, coronary heart disease, cardiac arrhythmia, or hypertension
  • hyoscine butylbromide injection should be used with caution in patients with cardiac disease
  • these patients should be monitored, and ensure that resuscitation equipment and personnel who are trained how to use it, are readily available
  • hyoscine butylbromide injection remains contraindicated in patients with tachycardia. 

You can read the full drug safety alert on the Gov.uk website.

Has your patient has a suspected adverse reaction to a drug? Don’t forget to report it on a Yellow Card.

Published 2nd March, 2017

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