Loperamide is used for the management of sudden diarrhea, including traveler’s diarrhea. It operates by reducing the peristaltic activity of the gut, leading to a decrease in the frequency of bowel movements and firmer stool consistency. Loperamide is employed to decrease fecal output in individuals who have undergone an ileostomy and to manage ongoing diarrhea associated with inflammatory bowel disease.
Note that loperamide is a symptomatic treatment, and the underlying cause of the diarrhea, such as an infection, should be identified and treated by a healthcare professional.
Uses and Dosage
Loperamide is available in the form of a tablet, capsule, suspension or solution for oral administration. Over-the-counter loperamide is typically taken immediately after each loose bowel movement, but should not exceed the 24-hour maximum dose specified on the product label. Prescription loperamide may be administered on a scheduled basis, either once or multiple times daily, as directed.
For pediatric use, carefully review the product label to ensure that the product is appropriate for the child’s age. Loperamide is not recommended for children younger than 2 years old. The appropriate dose can be determined by referring to the package label or consulting with the child’s doctor. If the child’s weight is known, the dose should correspond to that weight on the chart. If the child’s weight is unknown, the dose should correspond to the child’s age. Seek guidance from the child’s doctor if unsure of the appropriate dose.
In case of acute diarrhea, if symptoms worsen or if the diarrhea persists for more than 48 hours, discontinue use of the medication and seek medical attention.
Some of the more common side effects of loperamide can include:
- dry mouth
Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur:
- bloody or worsening diarrhea
- severe dizziness
- severe skin rash
- swelling or pain in the abdomen
- painful, peeling, or blistering skin
Inform your doctor or pharmacist prior to taking loperamide if you have a known allergy to the medication or any other allergies. The product may contain inactive ingredients that could potentially cause an allergic reaction or other adverse effects.
If you have any pre-existing medical conditions, including but not limited to stomach or abdominal pain without diarrhea, bowel obstruction, black or tarry stool, blood or mucus in stool, high fever, HIV infection/AIDS, liver problems, certain stomach or intestinal infections, or a specific type of bowel disease, consult with your doctor or pharmacist before using loperamide.
Antibiotics can rarely cause a severe intestinal condition caused by a bacteria called C. difficile. Symptoms of this condition include persistent diarrhea, abdominal or stomach pain or cramping, and blood or mucus in the stool. Loperamide may exacerbate this condition. Do not use this anti-diarrhea product, particularly after recent antibiotic use, if you experience any of the above symptoms without first speaking with your doctor.
Loperamide may cause QT prolongation, a condition that affects heart rhythm and can lead to rare but serious (and potentially fatal) fast or irregular heartbeat, as well as other symptoms such as severe dizziness or fainting.
The medication may cause dizziness or drowsiness, and its effects may be amplified by alcohol or marijuana. Avoid driving, operating machinery, or engaging in any activities that require alertness until it is safe to do so.
Form and Strength
Imodium is available in the following forms and strengths:
Is it better to let diarrhea run its course or take Imodium?
It’s best to treat it early. Although acute diarrhea usually resolves on its own within a few days, you can get relief faster with IMODIUM products.
Does loperamide stop bowel movement?
Loperamide is used to control and relieve the symptoms of acute diarrhea. It is also used to treat chronic diarrhea in patients with inflammatory bowel disease. Loperamide helps stop diarrhea by slowing down the movements of the intestines.