pyridostigmine (Mestinon)

  • Pharmacy Author:
    Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD

    Dr. Ogbru received his Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy in 1995. He completed a Pharmacy Practice Residency at the University of Arizona/University Medical Center in 1996. He was a Professor of Pharmacy Practice and a Regional Clerkship Coordinator for the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy from 1996-99.

  • Medical and Pharmacy Editor: Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD
    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.

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GENERIC NAME: pyridostigmine bromide

BRAND NAME: Mestinon

DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Pyridostigmine (Mestinon) is an oral cholinesterase inhibitor. Acetylcholine is one of many neurotransmitters in our bodies. Neurotransmitters are chemicals that help our cells communicate with each other. Depending on the organ that it acts upon, acetylcholine produces different effects. One important function of acetylcholine is to produce muscle contractions and movement. In people with myasthenia gravis or people treated with neuromuscular blocking medicines there is a decrease in the levels of acetylcholine. In such cases pyridostigmine may be used to increase acetylcholine levels and improve muscle contraction or movement. Pyridostigmine increases the concentration of acetylcholine at nerve junctions by inhibiting cholinesterase, the enzyme that destroys acetylcholine.

In comparison to neostigmine (Bloxiverz, Prostigmin), another cholinesterase inhibitor, pyridostigmine has a longer duration of action. Pyridostigmine was approved by the FDA for the treatment of myasthenia gravis in 1955.

PRESCRIBED FOR: Pyridostigmine bromide is a prescription medicine used to treat myasthenia gravis. It is also used to restore muscle function after surgery.

SIDE EFFECTS: Possible side effects of pyridostigmine therapy include:

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/11/2015

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