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Digestive Disorders

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Loperamide

Brand Names: Imodium, Imodium A-D, Imodium A-D Caplets, Kaopectate II, Maalox Anti-Diarrheal, Pepto Diarrhea Control
Drug Class: Antidiarrheal
Available in: Capsules, oral solution, tablets
Available OTC? Yes
As Generic? Yes

Side Effects

Serious: Bloating, skin rash, constipation, loss of appetite, stomach pains, nausea, vomiting. Call your doctor immediately.

Common: No common side effects are associated with
loperamide.

Less Common: Dizziness or drowsiness, dry mouth.

Principal Uses

To treat diarrhea.

How the Drug Works

Loperamide eases diarrhea by slowing the activity of the intestines.

Dosage

Capsules— Adults and teenagers: 4 mg after the first loose bowel movement, 2 mg after each subsequent loose bowel movement. Take no more than 16 mg every 24 hours. Children ages 8 to 12: 2 mg, 3 times a day. Children ages 6 to 8: 2 mg, 2 times a day. Oral solution— Adults and teenagers: 4 mg (4 teaspoons) after the first loose bowel movement, 2 mg after each subsequent loose bowel movement. No more than 8 mg every 24 hours. Children ages 9 to 11: 2 mg after the first loose bowel movement, 1 mg after each subsequent loose bowel movement. No more than 6 mg every 24 hours. Children ages 6 to 8: 2 mg after the first loose bowel movement, 1 mg after each subsequent loose bowel movement. No more than 4 mg every 24 hours. Tablets— Adults and teen-agers: 4 mg after the first loose bowel movement, 1 mg after each subsequent loose bowel movement. No more than 8 mg every 24 hours. Children ages 9 to 11: 2 mg after the first loose bowel movement, 1 mg after each subsequent loose bowel movement. No more than 6 mg every 24 hours. Children ages 6 to 8: 2 mg after the first loose bowel movement, 1 mg after each subsequent loose bowel movement. No more than 4 mg every 24 hours.

Onset of Effect

Unknown.

Duration of Action

Up to 24 hours.

Dietary Advice

Take it on an empty stomach (1 hour before or 2 hours after eating). A mild diet is recommended when recovering from diarrhea. Bananas, rice, applesauce, and plain toast are good choices. Be sure to drink plenty of fluids.

Storage

Store in a tightly sealed container away from heat, moisture, and direct light.

If You Miss a Dose

Skip the missed dose and resume your regular dosage schedule. Do not double the next dose.

Stopping the Drug

You may stop taking the drug whenever you choose.

Prolonged Use

Loperamide should not be used for more than 2 days unless directed otherwise by your doctor.

Precautions

Over 60: Diarrhea may easily lead to dehydration, especially in older patients, and loperamide may mask the effects of dehydration. When using loperamide, older persons should be sure to get plenty of fluids.

Driving and Hazardous Work: Avoid such activities until you determine how the medicine affects you.

Alcohol: Avoid alcohol.

Pregnancy: Discuss with your doctor the relative risks and benefits of using loperamide while pregnant.

Breast Feeding: It is not known whether loperamide passes into breast milk; caution is advised. Consult your doctor for specific advice.

Infants and Children: Do not give to children under 6 years of age unless otherwise directed by your doctor.

Special Concerns: During the first 24 hours, drink plenty of caffeine-free clear liquids like water, broth, ginger ale, and decaffeinated tea. During the second 24 hours you may eat bland foods such as applesauce, bread, crackers, and oatmeal.

Overdose

Symptoms: Constipation, central nervous system depression, gastrointestinal irritation.

What to Do: An overdose of loperamide is unlikely to be life-threatening. However, if someone takes a much larger dose than prescribed, call your doctor, emergency medical services (EMS), or the nearest poison control center.

Drug Interactions

Consult your doctor for specific advice if you are taking antibiotics such as cephalo-sporin, erythromycin, and tetracycline; or any narcotic pain medication.

Food Interactions

Fruits, fried or spicy foods, bran, candy, and caffeine-containing beverages can make diarrhea worse.

Disease Interactions

Consult your doctor if you have any of the following: dysentery, severe colitis, or liver disease.

 

From The Johns Hopkins Consumer Guide to Drugs. You can order this book now on our secure server.


 


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2005
WHITE PAPERS
Digestive Disorders

The Digestive Disorders White Paper from The Johns Hopkins White Papers series is an annual, in-depth report written by Hopkins physicians.


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Johns Hopkins Consumer Guide to Drugs

Find out everything you need to know about medications for arthritis and other conditions in The Johns Hopkins Consumer Guide to Drugs.

 

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