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:
- stomach cramps,
- the digestion process (creased peristalsis)
- increased salivation,
- increased bronchial secretions,
- pupil constriction (miosis),
- muscle cramps,
- muscle twitching, and
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