Loperamide is a medicine used to treat the symptoms of diarrhea. This medicine helps stop diarrhea by slowing down bowel movements and reducing bowel movements. In many cases, it is used in conjunction with other medications and a special diet to ensure its effectiveness.
This medicine is indicated for the control and symptomatic relief of acute nonspecific diarrhea and chronic diarrhea associated with inflammatory bowel disease. It is also indicated to reduce the volume of secretion from ileostomies.
Loperamide is one of the most widely used antidiarrheal drugs due to its great effectiveness. It can be obtained under the brand name Kaopectate, Imodium, or under its generic name Loperamide. It is available in the form of capsules or tablets: 1 or 2 mg; liquid: 1 mg per teaspoon (5 ml).
However loperamide is a medicine that only treats the symptoms, not the cause of the diarrhea (eg infection). Treatment of other symptoms and the cause of diarrhea must be determined by a physician.
What is the role of loperamide?
Loperamide is a drug used for the relief of acute diarrhea and the treatment of chronic diarrhea in patients with inflammatory bowel disease (such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis). The effectiveness of loperamide is comparable to that of another antidiarrheal diphenoxylate such as Lomotil.
What loperamide does is that it reduces diarrhea by slowing the forward propulsion of intestinal contents through the intestinal muscles. This decreases the amount of stool and makes the stool less watery.
Loperamide is also used to reduce the amount of discharge in patients who have had an ileostomy.
Although loperamide is chemically related to narcotics such as morphine, it does not have any narcotic pain relieving effects even in high doses. This medicine, as we have already mentioned, only serves to control diarrhea based on quantity and frequency.
How to administer loperamide?
Loperamide should be taken by mouth, usually after each loose stool, or as directed by your doctor. Dosage is based on individual condition and response to treatment.
In children, for example, the dosage is based on age and weight and it is the specialist who decides what is the ideal dose for that case. It should not be used in children under 6 years of age unless directed by the doctor. It should not be used in children under 6 years of age unless directed by the doctor.
Adults, on the other hand, should not use more than 8 milligrams in 24 hours if they self-medicate, or 16 milligrams in 24 hours if they are under the supervision of a doctor.
If loperamide is used under self-medication, it is important to read all instructions on the product package before taking this medication. If prescribed by the physician, the physician’s instructions and the instructions on the prescription label should be followed.
If the chewable tablets are being taken, this medicine should be taken on an empty stomach. The chewable tablets must be chewed completely before swallowing for the effect to come through as it should and quickly.
If the rapidly dissolving tablets are used in the mouth, the hands must be thoroughly dry before opening the blister to carefully remove a tablet. Do not push the tablet through the blister as they are usually very delicate. Place the tablet on the tongue, allow it to dissolve completely, then swallow it with saliva.
It must also be borne in mind that in the cases of these tablets they should not be crushed, split or broken before taking them. Do not remove the tablet from the blister until just before taking it, as it may become contaminated or damaged. You do not need water to take this medicine.
In the case of syrups, it is advisable to use a specially marked measuring spoon or other device to measure each dose accurately. Normal spoons on average cannot hold the correct amount of liquid.
Finally, it is very important to diet and fluid intake during the treatment of diarrhea with loperamide, since it is very important that the fluid lost by the body is replaced and a proper diet is followed to reestablish the proper functioning of the stomach. and intestines.
For the first 24 hours, you should eat gelatin and drink plenty of clear, caffeine-free liquids, such as serums, decaffeinated tea, and broth. You can also eat soft foods, such as cooked cereals, bread, crackers, and applesauce.
In severe cases, it is important to avoid fruits, vegetables, fried or spicy foods, bran, sweets, caffeine, and alcoholic beverages because they can make the condition worse.
Loperamide starting dose
This medicine can be easily purchased at any pharmacy, as it is used for emergency cases where the patient has a serious clinical case. However, like all medicines, precise instructions must be followed to ingest it without causing adverse effects.
In adults and children over 12 years of age, the usual dose is 4 mg initially, followed by 2 mg after each loose stool. The maximum dose is 16 mg / day (8 mg if self-medicating).
Chronic diarrhea: 4-8 mg per day can be given after control is achieved.
Dosage for children
- Acute diarrhea in children: when there is acute diarrhea, loperamide is given initial dose in children: 8 to 12 years, 2 mg three times the first day; age 6 to 8 years, 2 mg twice the first day; age 2 to 5 years, 1 mg three times the first day. After the first day, children under 12 years of age generally receive a dose of 0.1 mg / kg after a loose stool.
- Chronic diarrhea in children: 0.08-0.24 mg / kg / d divided into two doses, one dose administered every 12 hours.
- Traveler’s diarrhea in children 6-12 years old receives 2 mg after the first loss of stool and then 1 mg after each subsequent bowel movement. Children over 12 years old receive 4 mg initially and then 1 mg after each loose stool. The maximum daily dose for traveler’s diarrhea is 4 mg (6-8 years), 6 mg (6-12 years) and 8 mg (> 12 years).
Side effects of loperamide
Loperamide can cause dizziness, drowsiness, tiredness, or constipation. If any of these effects persist or worsen, you should contact a doctor immediately.
Use of loperamide should be stopped and medical attention sought immediately if you have very serious side effects, including: constipation, nausea, severe vomiting, stomach pain, abdominal pain, uncomfortable fullness of the stomach, stiff abdomen, fast or irregular heartbeat, dizziness. intense and fainting spells.
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, medical attention should be sought immediately if there are any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching, swelling (especially of the face, tongue, and throat), severe dizziness, or difficulty breathing.
As we already mentioned, loperamide can cause dizziness or drowsiness. When mixed with alcohol or drugs they can cause very adverse effects. Don’t drive, use machinery, or do anything that requires alertness until you can do it safely. Avoid alcoholic beverages and consult a doctor if marijuana is used.
Older adults may be more sensitive to the side effects of this drug; Likewise, children may feel these effects more, especially drowsiness, if the proper dose is not administered. Children are also at higher risk for dehydration.
During pregnancy, this drug should be used only if clearly needed. The doctor will be the one to decide if the medicine can be used or not. This medicine passes into breast milk, but it is unlikely to have undesirable effects on a nursing infant. Consult your doctor before breastfeeding.
If your doctor has prescribed this medicine for you, remember that the benefit to you has been found to outweigh the risk of side effects. Many people using this medicine do not have serious side effects.
Dr. Samantha Robson ( CRN: 0510146-5) is a nutritionist and website content reviewer related to her area of expertise. With a postgraduate degree in Nutrition from The University of Arizona, she is a specialist in Sports Nutrition from Oxford University and is also a member of the International Society of Sports Nutrition.