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What is Loperamide?

As an over-the-counter (OTC) medicine, loperamide is used to treat acute or chronic diarrhea, including traveler’s diarrhea. Diarrhea is when someone has frequent loose or watery stools that last anywhere between 1 to 2 days, or sometimes weeks. Doctors usually prescribe loperamide for those suffering from Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). The common brand name for this gastrointestinal medication is Imodium, and it is easily available in medical stores without a prescription.

What are the Uses of Loperamide?

As a common antidiarrheal drug, loperamide is used to treat:

  • Acute diarrhea: It occurs when someone suffers from persistent stools that last a few days. The most common causes for this are food poisoning or stomach infection.
  • Chronic diarrhea: It usually lasts for a few weeks and is seen when a person suffers from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). For chronic diarrhea, loperamide should be taken only with a doctor’s prescription.
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What are the Side Effects of Loperamide?

Some of the most common side effects of loperamide include constipation, drowsiness or dizziness, nausea, abdominal pain, or stomach cramps.

Stop taking loperamide if severe side-effects such as rash, hives, pounding heart, fluttering in the chest, wheezing, bloating, swelling, bloody stools, or worsening symptoms are seen. It is essential to get in touch with a doctor for further advice with severe side effects since medical intervention is needed at the earliest.

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FAQ's

1. When should you not take loperamide?

It is advisable not to take loperamide when:

  • You are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • You have consumed alcohol
  • You see any allergic reaction after one dose
  • You are using specific medication for a severe heart condition, cancer, or mental illness
  • You have bloody or black stools (dysentery)

2. Is loperamide safe in pregnancy?

Although loperamide is a readily available over-the-counter drug, it is essential to check with a doctor regarding its safety for consumption during pregnancy. Although there is no significant scientific proof that this medication may affect the fetus, a gynecologist may prescribe it based on the severity.

3. How to take loperamide?

Available in three forms ? tablet, capsule, and liquid suspension ? loperamide is usually administered orally. If purchased over the counter, follow the instructions mentioned on the label. A doctor usually prescribes this medication for taking once or twice in 24 hours, depending on the severity of the condition.

4. Is loperamide the same as Imodium?

Yes, loperamide and Imodium are the same. Imodium is one of the most common brand names for loperamide. This gastrointestinal medication is used to treat diarrhea in both adults and children. The uses and benefits that are seen in most adults far outweigh the common side effects.

5. What class of drug is loperamide?

Loperamide is in a class of drugs known as antidiarrheal agents. This medication works by gradually reducing the flow of electrolytes in the intestines, thus slowing down the bowels' speed and restricting bowel movement. Nutrients are then given more time to be reabsorbed, which ensures the slowing down of stools.

6. Does loperamide stop diarrhea?

Loperamide can treat both acute and chronic forms of diarrhea. Since diarrhea can result in the loss of fluids and electrolytes from the body, it is best to drink plenty of fluids throughout the day and take loperamide with one full glass of water.

7. Is loperamide bad for the liver?

Scientifically, loperamide has not been linked to the liver getting affected. However, it is essential to remember that you must take only the recommended number of doses each day. If you already suffer from an existing liver condition, it is advisable to seek a doctor's opinion before taking loperamide.

8. Does loperamide make you sleepy?

While a common side-effect of loperamide is drowsiness, it does not make you sleepy. However, if you consume this medication along with alcohol, it may induce sleep for a longer time.

9. What drugs does loperamide interact with?

Some drugs that interact with loperamide include pramlintide, ritonavir, cholestyramine, and saquinavir. Loperamide also interacts with drugs that result in constipation ? belladonna, antispasmodics like oxybutynin, pain-relief medicine like morphine, and antidepressants like amitriptyline. If you are currently under any of these medications, please consult a doctor before taking loperamide.

10. How does loperamide affect the heart?

Loperamide is known to be safe when used as prescribed by a doctor. If it is consumed in larger doses, it may cause severe or life-threatening heart conditions. It is advisable not to take a larger dose or consume loperamide for a longer time than what the doctor has prescribed.

 

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