|Type of medicine||Antimotility drug|
|Also called||Diah-Limit®, Diaquitte®, Diareze®, Diocalm®, Entrocalm®, Imodium®, Norimode®, Normaloe®|
|Available as||Capsules, tablets, 'instant' (dissolve-in-the-mouth) tablets, and oral liquid|
Loperamide is used in acute diarrhoea (this is diarrhoea which starts suddenly and lasts less than two weeks). The most common cause of acute diarrhoea is infection. In most cases the diarrhoea settles within several days as your body's immune system clears the infection. Antidiarrhoeal medicines like loperamide are not usually necessary; however if you wish to reduce the number of trips that you need to make to the toilet, loperamide can be useful.
Loperamide works by slowing down the movement of your bowel which reduces the speed at which the contents pass through. Food remains in your intestines for longer and this allows more water to be absorbed back into your body. This results in firmer stools that are passed less often.
Because loperamide regulates the passage of food through the digestive system, it can also be used to help treat people over 18 years of age with chronic (persistent) diarrhoea, and diarrhoea associated with irritable bowel syndrome.
Before taking loperamide
Before taking loperamide make sure your doctor or pharmacist knows:
- If it is for a child under 12 years of age.
- If you are pregnant or breast-feeding.
- If you have liver problems.
- If you have an inflammatory bowel condition such as ulcerative colitis.
- If you are taking other medicines, including those available to buy without a prescription, herbal and complementary medicines.
- If you have ever had an allergic reaction to this or to any other medicine.
How to take loperamide
- Before starting this treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside the pack. The leaflet will give you more information about the specific brand of loperamide you have been given, and any possible side-effects from taking it.
- Take loperamide exactly as you have been told to. Your doctor or pharmacist will tell you how much to take and when to take it. The usual dose for acute diarrhoea in an adult is two tablets or capsules to start with, followed by one tablet or capsule after each time you pass some diarrhoea, for up to five days. This usually means taking three or four doses a day. Do not take more than eight tablets or capsules a day.
- Loperamide should not be taken by a child under 12 years of age unless it is on the advice of a doctor. If your child has been prescribed loperamide, check the label carefully to make sure you know what dose to give, as the dose will depend upon your child's age.
- If you have been given loperamide capsules or tablets, these are best swallowed with a drink water. If you have been given Imodium® Instants, put these on your tongue and allow them to dissolve in your mouth.
- If you forget to take a dose, do not worry, just take a dose after the next time you pass some diarrhoea. Do not take two doses together to make up for a missed dose.
Getting the most from your treatment
- It is important that you have lots to drink to prevent you from becoming dehydrated. Drinking plain water is ideal, but fruit juice and/or soup are also suitable. Try to avoid drinks that contain a lot of sugar, such as cola or pop, as they can sometimes make diarrhoea worse.
- Oral rehydration salts may be taken to help prevent dehydration and replace lost salts. These are recommended for people who are frail, or over the age of 60, or who have underlying health problems. You can buy these from pharmacies.
- Eat small, light meals as soon as you are able. Plain foods such as wholemeal bread and rice are good foods to try eating first.
- If your symptoms continue for more than 48 hours, speak with your doctor or pharmacist for advice if you have not already done so. If loperamide has been prescribed by your doctor and your diarrhoea has not settled after five days, you should return to your doctor for further advice.
- If your symptoms get worse, or if you develop a high temperature, or if you pass blood in the diarrhoea, you should ask your doctor or pharmacist for advice.
Can loperamide cause problems?
Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. These usually improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following side-effects continue or become troublesome.
|Possible loperamide side-effects - these affect less than 1 in 10,000 people who take this medicine||What can I do if I experience this?|
|Abdominal cramps and bloating, skin rashes and itching||Speak with your doctor or pharmacist for advice|
|Dizziness, drowsiness||If this happens, do not drive or use tools or machines|
If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to this medicine, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.
How to store loperamide
- Keep all medicines out of the sight and reach of children.
- Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.
Important information about all medicines
Further reading & references
- British National Formulary; 62nd Edition (Sep 2011) British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London
- Manufacturer's PIL, Imodium® Classic 2 mg Capsules,; Manufacturer's PIL, Imodium® Classic 2 mg Capsules, McNeil Products Ltd, electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated August 2010.
- Manufacturer's PIL, Imodium® Instant melts,; Manufacturer's PIL, Imodium® Instant melts, McNeil Products Ltd, electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated November 2008.
- Manufacturer's PIL, Imodium® Syrup,; Manufacturer's PIL, Imodium® Syrup, Janssen-Cilag Ltd, electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated September 2010.
|Original Author: Helen Allen||Current Version: Helen Allen||Peer Reviewer: Dr Adrian Bonsall|
|Last Checked: 19/01/2012||Document ID: 989 Version: 25||© EMIS|
Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.