When you want to stay healthy, you need to know about the products you take for various health issues. If you experience diarrhea, one example is Loperamide.
What Is Loperamide?
Loperamide is an oral medication used to control diarrhea. The most common brand name is Imodium. As the product is available over the counter, it does not require a doctor’s prescription. You can find it in any pharmacy, many grocery stores, and online.
What Is Loperamide Used For?
Sudden, uncomplicated diarrhea can be treated with Loperamide. Individuals who experience traveler’s diarrhea can also achieve relief with the product.
In addition to sudden diarrhea, it can be helpful in relieving diarrhea caused by inflammatory bowel disease. Chronic conditions in this category include ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease that affect the small intestine and colon.
However, it is not meant to be used for diarrhea from all causes. If you have diarrhea due to salmonella, E. coli, Clostridium difficile infection, or a similar bacterial infection, you should not use Loperamide. Even if the product reduces the diarrhea, dangerous bacteria can remain in your body. If you experience food poisoning, or another source of toxins, consult with your doctor immediately. Do not use an over the counter product.
Loperamide Side Effects
When used correctly to treat simple diarrhea, side effects are usually minor. You may experience abdominal cramping, constipation, nausea, dizziness, or feel tired or drowsy.
While serious side effects are rare, consult with your doctor immediately if you experience fainting or severe dizziness, an irregular or fast heartbeat, a sense of fullness in your stomach, pain, or severe constipation, vomiting, or nausea.
If you have a serious medical condition or take any medications, ask your doctor before using this product. It can worsen some medical conditions, and drug interaction can occur.
Loperamide should not be given to children under three years of age.
Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not take Loperamide to control diarrhea.
You should also avoid the product if your diarrhea includes bloody stools, or if the diarrhea is accompanied by a fever.
Individuals in any of these categories who experience diarrhea should seek medical advice instead of using an over the counter product.
How Does Loperamide Work?
Although it is an opiate, it only works in your intestinal tract. It decreases the muscle activity in your intestines. When the contractions in your intestines are slowed down, you will have bowel movements that are less watery, and fewer bowel movements.
Is Loperamide Habit-Forming?
Unless you already have an addiction to opiods, you do not need to be concerned about dependency. However, if you experience severe diarrhea, or experience it frequently, you should consult with your health care provider to determine the cause. You may have an underlying medical condition that needs to be treated.
Diarrhea is a fact of life for most people. In most cases, though, it does not occur often and is usually not severe. Most adults and older children can safely use it on an occasional basis. You can be free from diarrhea, and have a comfortable, productive day.