Disclaimer: None of the information in this article constitutes medical advice. All statements are merely the opinion of the writer(s). We recommend that patients follow their doctor’s guidance in regard to prescription medication.
Dicyclomine is a generic drug used to treat Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). The brand name of this drug is Bentyl. Both of these terms refer to the same active drug ingredient, so we'll use them interchangeably throughout this article.
Patients are often curious about whether dicyclomine is effective for weight loss, because there are a number of anecdotal reports suggesting so online.
In this article we’ll review published medical studies on dicyclomine to determine whether the medication is effective for weight loss.
How Does Dicyclomine Work?
Dicyclomine is prescribed for IBS because of its anticholinergic action. It’s been proven in medical studies to relax smooth muscle, and this is why it can be effective for IBS management. Patients with IBS often experience uncomfortable involuntary muscle spasms in their intestinal tract, and dicyclomine reduces the number and duration of these spasms.
Nearly all of the medical research we’ve encountered on dicyclomine is related to its effects on gastrointestinal conditions, not weight loss.
There is no logical reason to believe that the relaxation of smooth muscle would cause weight loss.
Can Dicyclomine Help With Weight Loss?
We cannot identify any clinical evidence suggesting that dicyclomine is effective for weight loss. In fact, we haven’t even come across one single medical trial testing the drug's effects on weight, or reporting weight loss as a side effect.
Some of the misconception that dicyclomine may be effective for weight loss likely stems from the fact that IBS itself can cause weight loss, and many people with IBS are prescribed dicyclomine. But this is just a correlation and has nothing to do with the drug itself.
As an example, if someone recently diagnosed with IBS has trouble absorbing their food, and loses 15 pounds over 3 months, they may believe that the weight loss was caused by an IBS drug they're taking like dicyclomine. However, it was the patient's poor absorption of food which more likely caused the weight loss. Unintentional weight loss is actually used as a diagnostic tool for IBS, based on a medical review published in the Therapeutic Advances in Gastroenterology journal.
In general, we haven't come across much promising research on prescription drugs for weight loss. There do exist some weight loss medications with proven results, one of which we outlined in our Plenity review. Even in the case of prescription weight loss drug Plenity, we found the weight loss results to be relatively minor and unimpressive, and believe that lifestyle modifications may be a superior approach.
We cannot locate much safety or toxicity research published on dicyclomine for its intended use (IBS), but "off-label" use such as taking dicyclomine for weight loss is always unsafe. When a medication is used off-label, this refers to the drug being used to treat a condition that it's not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat.
One medical review found that dicyclomine is safe for adults at the typical prescribed dose of 10 milligrams (mg) to 20 mg, and that this dosage range is not harmful to the liver.
Our Clean Weight Loss Picks
There are food-based nutrients which have been shown in medical studies to be effective for weight loss.
Dietary fiber was shown in a medical review published in The Journal of Nutrition to cause 16 pounds of weight loss in 6 months when combined with moderate caloric restriction (750 calories per day below baseline).
Supergut Fiber Mix is our top fiber supplement, because it contains three different types of fiber powder, and retails for only $1.75 per serving at a subscription rate.
MCT oil was shown in a meta-study to cause more than one pound of weight loss over 10 weeks. This equates to potential annualized weight loss of 6 pounds per year with less than one tablespoon's worth of MCT oil per day.
Bulletproof MCT Oil is our top MCT oil product, because the only ingredient is MCT oil derived from coconuts. and it currently costs only $15.50 for over a month's worth of product.
Ginger intake "significantly decreased body weight" according to a 2019 meta-study on ginger and weight loss that analyzed data from 14 clinical trials.
Pique La Ginger is our top ginger product, because it's an organic tea in convenient crystallized form, and all that's needed is to pour the powder into a glass and add hot water.
All three of the products mentioned in this section are entirely free of additive ingredients that we consider to be unhealthy or unsafe.