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Donnatal is a proprietary combination medication for the treatment of intestinal cramping due to various causes, often administered as part of a GI cocktail.[1] It is classed as an anticholinergic antispasmodic drug. Donnatal is marketed by PBM Pharmaceuticals. It is available as tablets, capsules, extended release tablets and elixir. Active ingredients are listed as: phenobarbital, atropine and scopolamine. The latter two ingredients are found in plants of the Solanaceae family.

Recent clinical trials showed that Donnatal was no more effective than plain antacid in relieving the symptoms of dyspepsia.[1][2] However, the active ingredients in Donnatal® have been shown to be more effective than placebo in treating moderately severe symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.[3]

It is also a common component of a GI cocktail used in emergency rooms. In 1976, Donnatal was one of the 25 most widely prescribed drugs in the U.S.[4] It has since been displaced by H2 antagonists and proton pump inhibitors, which are more effective and lack many of the adverse effects of phenobarbital.[5]


  1. ^ a b Berman DA, Porter RS, Graber M (2003). "The GI Cocktail is no more effective than plain liquid antacid: a randomized3". J Emerg Med. 25: 239–244. doi:10.1016/S0736-4679(03)00196-3. PMID 14585449. 
  2. ^ Bowman J, Jones J (2006). "Use of lidocaine in the gastrointestinal cocktail for the treatment of dyspepsia". Emergency Medicine Journal. 23 (11): 873–874. doi:10.1136/emj.2006.042168. PMC 2464394Freely accessible. PMID 17057145. 
  3. ^ Rhodes JB, Abrams JH, Manning RT (1978). "Controlled clinical trial of sedative-anticholinergic drugs in patients with the irritable bowel syndrome". Journal of Clinical Pharmacology. 18 (7): 340–345. doi:10.1002/j.1552-4604.1978.tb01603.x. PMID 353089. 
  4. ^ Knapp DE, Crosby DL, Brandon BM, Knapp DA (May 1978). "Can pharmacists influence drug prescribing? A look at eight of the top 25 drug products for 1976". Am J Hosp Pharm. 35 (5): 593–4. PMID 655185. 
  5. ^ Hardman JG, Limbird LE, Gilman, AG, Ed., Goodman and Gilman's Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics, 10th edition(2001)

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