Loperamide is a medication used to treat diarrhoea, and is commonly found as the branded version Imodium. Loperamide works by slowing down the natural muscle contractions (peristalsis) that occur in the intestines. This in turn gives your body more time to absorb fluid and electrolytes. Loperamide can come in different formulations such as capsules, tablets, liquid, and "instant melts" that dissolve on the tongue. The "plus comfort" version of Imodium also contains the medication simeticone, which helps relieve trapped wind.
Loperamide can be used by anyone above the age of 12 for short term diarrhoea. It can also be used for loose stool associated with irritable bowel syndrome in adults over 18 years who have been diagnosed by their doctor.
For adults treating short-term diarrhoea, take two caplets initially, followed by one caplet after each loose bowel movement. You should not take more than 6 caplets in a day and should not use loperamide for longer than 2 days. For children between the age of 12 and 17 for treating short-term diarrhoea, take one caplet initially, followed by one caplet after each loose bowel movement. You should not take more than 6 caplets in a day and should not use loperamide for longer than 2 days.
Like all medications, don’t take them if you have previously had an allergic reaction to the medication. Avoid starting loperamide if you have a diagnosis of inflammatory bowel condition like ulcerative colitis and have not consulted your doctor, or if you are constipated or have a severely painful swollen stomach. You should not take loperamide if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. You should avoid loperamide if you have severe diarrhoea after taking antibiotics if you have a fever and have blood in your stools. This may be a sign you have an infection, and you should speak with your doctor promptly.
As with any medications, some people are bound to get some unwanted side effects. Some of the common ones include dizziness, drowsiness, constipation, stomach pain, itching, and skin rashes. You should consult your doctor if you experience any severe symptoms.