Pyridostigmine Bromide is a prescription indicated to improve muscle strength in patients with a certain muscle disease called myasthenia gravis. This type of condition is characterized by weakness and rapid fatigue of any of the muscles under your voluntary control. It is caused by a breakdown in the normal communication between nerves and muscles. This medication can help relieve signs and symptoms such as:
- A weakness of arm or leg muscles
- Double vision
- Drooping eyelids
- Difficulties with speech, swallowing and breathing
Though this condition can affect at any age, this is more common in women younger than 40 and in men older than 60. Muscle weakness caused by myasthenia gravis worsens as the affected muscle is used. Because symptoms usually improve with rest that muscle weakness may come and go. However, the symptoms tend to progress over time. It usually reaches their worst within a few years after the onset of the disease.
Pyridostigmine Bromide is a type of medicine called an anticholinesterase. Acetylcholine is one of many neurotransmitters in our bodies. One important function of acetylcholine is to produce muscle contractions and movement. This drug prevents the breakdown of a certain natural substance in your body. Pyridostigmine Bromide is a prescription approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1955. This is supplied as tablets for oral use. Each tablet contains Pyridostigmine Bromide as an active ingredient. This is available in the dosage forms of 60 mg and 180 mg.
How does Pyridostigmine Bromide work?
Pyridostigmine Bromide works by prolonging the action of a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine. Neurotransmitters are chemicals that are stored in nerve cells in the brain and nervous system. They are involved in transmitting messages between nerve cells. Acetylcholine is involved in transmitting nerve messages that control many of the processes that happen automatically in the body. It is also involved in transmitting the nerve messages to muscles that cause them to contract. In order for the nerves to pass a message to a muscle, acetylcholine is released from the end of the nerve cell. It fits into acetylcholine receptors that are found in the muscle cells. This causes changes in the muscle cells that cause the muscle to contract. The acetylcholine is then quickly broken down by an enzyme called cholinesterase.
In the condition myasthenia gravis, the body’s immune system destroys many of the acetylcholine receptors on the muscle cells. This means that the muscle becomes less responsive to nerve messages. Pyridostigmine Bromide stops cholinesterase from breaking down acetylcholine at the junctions. This prolongs the action of acetylcholine at the nerve endings and gives it more chance to act on the remaining acetylcholine receptors. This drug, therefore, increases the likelihood of a nerve signal being successfully transmitted to the muscle. It improves nerve transmission both to muscles that are under voluntary control as well as those that are not (the muscle in the gut). It allows these muscles to function normally.
How to use Pyridostigmine Bromide?
Pyridostigmine Bromide is to be taken by mouth. This is usually taken once or twice daily at least 6 hours apart or as directed by your doctor. You may take each dose with or without a meal. Swallow the tablet as a whole with a full glass of water. Do not break, chew, or crush it. If you missed a dose, take it as soon as you remember it. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not double the dose to make up for the missed dose.
The recommended dosage is based on your medical condition, age, and response to the treatment. Your doctor may direct you to start at a lower dose and eventually increase it. You should take the right dose, not more or less. Remember to take it at the same time and in the same way each day. Do not suddenly stop taking this medication without the consent of your doctor. It may cause another complication or may worsen your current condition. For the best benefit from this product, take it regularly. Let your doctor know if your condition does not improve or if it gets worse.
What are the side effects of Pyridostigmine Bromide?
Common side effects:
- Upset stomach
- Increased saliva or mucus
- Abdominal cramps
- Decreased pupil size
- Increased urination and sweating or cold sweat
- Watery eyes
- Pale skin
- Warmth o tingly feeling
- Rash or itching
Tell your doctor if you have unlikely but serious side effects of this drug including:
- Shortness of breath
- New or increased muscle weakness, cramps, or twitching
- Slow heartbeat
- New or increased difficulty swallowing
Call for medical assistance if you have any allergic reactions such as:
- Difficulty breathing
- Swelling of your lips, face, tongue, or throat
Warnings and Precautions
- Use Pyridostigmine Bromide with caution in people with asthma, those who have recently had a heart attack, and with a slow heart rate. As well as those with low blood pressure, decreased kidney function, Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, and peptic ulcer this should be used with caution.
- This medication should not be used in people with a physical blockage in the gut and in the urinary tract.
- Pyridostigmine Bromide should also not be used if you are allergic to any of its ingredients. Let your doctor know if you have previously experienced such an allergy.
- During pregnancy, this drug should be used with caution. If you are breastfeeding women, consult your doctor first before using this treatment.
- While having this treatment, let your doctor know if you have any current medications.
- Do not receive any immunizations or vaccinations while having this drug.
- You should not share this with others even if they have the same symptoms as yours.
- Avoid alcoholic beverages. Drinking alcohol can increase certain side effects of Pyridostigmine Bromide.
- Inform your doctor about the medical history that you had especially of lung disease, stomach or intestinal blockage.
- Call your doctor right away if you have any signs of an overdose (stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, blurred vision, or drooling).