Levsin (hyoscyamine) is an anti-spasmodic that relaxes the muscles of the gut and prevents spasms. Because of its relaxing effect Levsin can treat intestinal spasms, and also reduce pain and diarrhea caused by IBS. Levsin comes in tablet form.
The most common side effects of Levsin are blurred vision and a decrease in sweating.
Review by Lauren
I have been suffering from IBS since 7th grade. I had terrible diarrhea during all of 7th, 8th and 9th grade. It was truly terrible. I felt like I was missing out on everything: friends, school and especially fun. I am now 18 and going off to college. I learned how to control my IBS somewhat through a very bland diet but even then I missed a lot of school.
Now, though, I am on Levsin. It helps the cramps to the point that they were almost completely gone by the third day of taking it and it also helps the diarrhea the most out of any medication I've ever tried. I can truly say I feel confident going off to college knowing my IBS will no longer control my life. But those out there who feel helpless, I hope you realize there are people just like you who know where every bathroom is in every restaurant and mall! Stick in there!
Review by Walt
I've had IBS cramping and bloating for years. Finally the scans showed a mass, and a non-Hodgkin B cell lymphoma was removed. I then had resection and chemo and thought my problem was cured. Not so. The doctors were pleased, as I was, that the cancer was found and removed, but then they gave up on ending my pain. I've had endoscopic ultrasounds, colonoscopies, barium enemas, you name it. Finally, after three days on Levsin I feel relief after 20 years of suffering. I hope it lasts. I enjoy the reviews here and I am taking a lot from other's life plans: dieting, relaxing, exercise, etc.
Review by Julie
I started my period (age 12) and the hormones caused my body to become lactose intolerant and develop stomach problems, and two months later I was diagnosed with IBS. Right now I am 18 and I have been taking Levsin since I was 13. It is truly my lifesaver! The doctor prescribed many different kinds of stomach medicines, but they all made my stomach worse and some made me constipated. But the Levsin also helps with my anxiety!
Right now I am having more stomach problems and I have no clue why, but I am scheduled for another appointment with my gastroenterologist to figure out what else is wrong with me!
Review by Joe
Levsin is a lifesaver. I have been using Levsin for years...I was first diagnosed with IBS at age 17. Nothing would help me, except for heavy drugs prescribed by emergency room physicians. I live in Canada, and after about five years of using the drug it was discontinued here. I called the company to find out why and it is having some silly patent problems.
I went two years without access to my life-saving drug until I figured out I could take a short drive to Buffalo where they honored my doctor's prescription and dispensed my Levsin. I have been doing this for 10 years now, and I want all Canadians who have lost access to Levsin to know that they can drive to the US and get some.
Review by Mary Jane
I have had IBS-D for over 40 years. I was able to control it most of the time with diet alone until approximately five years ago. I had an extremely severe flare-up, losing 20 pounds in just two weeks. It took about four months to find some medicine that would help with the severe cramping and diarrhea. I was started on Levsin SL, 0.125mg three times a day before meals. Within the first day the cramps disappeared almost completely and the diarrhea improved dramatically.
To this day, I am still on Levsin SL...now I take half a tablet two times a day, morning and at supper time, and Lexapro, 5mg at bedtime. I have tried to stop the Levsin completely at various times, and I always wind up having a flare-up within a day. So, I finally decided to not try anymore to stop the med. Now, if I have a flare-up it is relatively short-lived (a day), and not as bad as in the past before Levsin...in the past year, I have had only three flare-ups! Levsin is the best thing that has ever happened to me. I sure hope the med is never taken off the market!
Review by Keonna
My MD put me on Levsin and I have been on it for three days now. I am happy with it so far. I suck on mints and drink plenty of water so I don't feel dehydrated and try to get my full eight hours of sleep so I can keep up with my three children. So far the cramps are not nearly as severe. I did a bit of a test run with a smoothie to see if I would start cramping up and I'm doing pretty good. Only problem is that I had an allergic reaction to the smoothie and had to take some Benadryl so I know I'll be pretty drowsy today.
I am very happy with this pill so far and I'm hoping that it will continue at this success rate. One thing I must say is that since I've been taking the pill I can hold a lot more urine in my bladder, maybe because it's an anti-spamodic med. Before I was constantly running to the restroom. I feel much better now.
Review by Karen
I suffer from IBS because of gallstones which caused pancreatitis. After 12 weeks in the hospital I am now able to do a lot more thanks to Levsin, but I still have bad cramping, fetal position cramping and pain from not eating for days so as to avoid violent diarrhea. I've had months on a liquid diet, and then only soups and plain potatoes. Some lean, low fat meat when I feel better than usual. Since I'm in my mid 30's, I didn't expect such a long recovery from this illness.
I would have given Levsin five stars, but I'm taking it without taking Ativan, which I believe really helped me. Now, my doctor has prescribed something else for anxiety. Ativan helped me more than Levsin but it is a controlled drug and docs hesitate to prescribe it for prolonged periods of time.
I don't eat fatty or fried foods at all, no dairy products, no coffee, no fresh fruits (except bananas which help replenish lost potassium), and no fresh vegetables (some of the time I can handle canned veggies, but usually just potatoes). I drink hydrolyte or a sports drink type of mineral supplement during IBS flare-ups. I don't drink Pedialyte or Ensure (too much dairy).
I drink alcohol at all! I have been able to tolerate one or two glasses of white wine if it's with a baked potato and lean meat, but that's rare. The meal has to be hearty to do that. I eat slowly, and don't get too full or overeat at all. It's a combination of what I eat, drink, and how much I sleep along with medication.
I'm getting back into exercise again, which I hope will help too. I lost over 50lbs being in the hospital and on liquid diets during my flare-ups, so this is odd for me to want to exercise. When my pain and IBS symptoms get so bad that I can't stand it, I will only have liquids for a few days and I take Levsin and Protonix or Prilosec. I also take other drugs for my stomach illness, but IBS is in fact the worst part of my recovery. Dealing with IBS, bed-bound cramping, spontaneous sharp stomach pain and trying to be near a bathroom all the time is for the birds.
Review by Karen
When I was diagnosed with IBS around eight years ago I was prescribed Levsin by my physician. I was to go away for a yearly weekend with my girlfriends and didn't want the trip to be ruined by my symptoms. I took my first dose of the drug the morning of departure. By the time we arrived at our destination and were sitting in the theater, I started having severe kidney pain and bladder distension.
I got up several times to use the restroom, but I couldn't urinate. I was in severe pain by this time. My friends ended up having to take me to the hospital emergency room. My wonderful husband picked me up four hours later (so my friends could resume their weekend away), and I was released to go home - never enjoying my weekend away with my friends. Needless to say, this drug is listed as a severe allergic reaction in my medical files.
Review by Jeanette
For years I suffered from intestinal and stomach cramps right after eating. It didn't matter what I ate. I finally went to the doctor because my cramps and frequent runs to the toilet were affecting me at my new job. My doctor diagnosed me with IBS and prescribed Levsin SL for me to take.
Within a day of taking it, I experienced no cramping as long as I took the Levsin before I ate a meal. I was tired for the first few doses, but I started using it on the weekend to get used to the feelings. Sometimes I feel overly good. I think that is a symptom of the medication though. This product has really changed my life. I no longer lie in bed doubled over in pain from eating.
Review by Lynn
I have had IBS for years with little relief. I had had three trips to the ER, January through February 2006. Although Levsin 0.375mg taken daily did not help me, Levsin sublingual .125mg was my gift of life. When I can't handle the pain, I slip two under my tongue. Within a very short time I can carry on with my life. For the first in my life, I'm in control. A true miracle.
Review by Anna
I was diagnosed with IBS in September 2005 after three years of suffering from diarrhea and painful bloating as well as an occasional bloody stool. My doctor ruled out Crohn's and colitis by doing a colonoscopy and taking biopsies of tissues from various locations in my colon. My symptoms could last up to four days at a time, about every other week during the winter months and once a month during the summer. (I have my suspicions about why that is, but I'll save those for another time.) My doctor prescribed the anti-spasmodic Levsin.
I took Levsin for two weeks, but it made me feel disoriented and dehydrated. The instructions on the bottle stated that I was not to operate machinery (like driving my car) while taking it, so I would take it when I got to work in the morning. My eyelids felt like they were glued open and I had the balloon-head feeling some people get when they take Sudafed. I became very dehydrated. It didn't matter how much water I drank, my body wasn't absorbing it. By the end of the first week I had contracted a UTI.
I started suffering from IBS in 1997 at age 29. I needed to work two full-time jobs, one as a rural letter carrier. You can imagine the hell of a low-paying stressful job without a bathroom. I kept bottles of anti-diarrhea medication in the car. I would get so constipated I couldn't walk erect.
My IBS is under control today. I'd say I have about four cramps and diarrhea episodes per year, and they are nothing in comparison to the hour-long torturing diarrhea with bone-twisting pain before Levsin (2000). Here's what I do:
4) get a life.
After waking, I put one whole Levsin under my tongue. I eat a plain bagel or white toast with margarine when I'm hungry. Cinnamon toast, jam is good. Hot tea with one sugar.
Mid-morning, I try a 'forced poop'. I get The New Yorker or a pleasant decorating/gardening magazine and enjoy both. I notice I can't hear my body when I have to make a bowel movement at times. I think it's from working a job where I couldn't relieve myself when I needed to. I got a better, indoor, higher-paying day job. (NB - poop if you need to poop. Don't hold poop in. Relieves pain and problems.)
Before lunch I take half a Levsin. A whole one if my intestines don't feel right. I nap in my office for my lunch hour most days. Pillow, blanket, everything. Use your car if you don't have an office.
I don't eat lunch. I nibble on pretzels. After 2pm it's gum time. If I feel hungry/nervous I chew gum. If it's really bad I take Ativan. I don't eat the cakes and sweets everyone at work puts in the kitchen.
I am lactose intolerant. I don't eat things with lactose on purpose - I don't buy cheesecake, ice cream, or pizza. If there's a party at work, I graciously take two lactaids and a sliver of cake. I dropped 10 pounds in a year, simply by not buying cake and cookies.
At my night job, I take a whole Levsin. When I'm hungry, I eat brown rice with soy sauce and herbs; chicken, fish, pork; and frozen or fresh veggies. One plate of food, but I eat all the rice I want, up to a cup. If I'm not well, only brown rice will do. On my dinner break, I sleep in my car, or talk to my hubby or Mom, relax with a book, or surf my favorite websites.
No food after 11pm. It makes me acidy. I have GERD, too, and I haven't taken Protonix in months. I don't eat till I'm full, and I don't eat pizza or anything with tomato or heavy sauces, sausage and peppers, fast food, junk food, greasy food.