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Loperamide

Loperamide

Loperamide slows the muscular contractions of the intestine and is called an ‘anti-motility’ medicine. This medication is used for the treatment of diarrhea. This prescription can be given to control diarrhea at any cause including IBS or Irritable Bowel Syndrome. It can also be used to control chronic diarrhea in adults. Loperamide is a prescription approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Diarrhea is a common problem which is watery or loose and possibly more-frequent bowel movements. It can only last for weeks and usually indicates that there’s another problem. If you experience diarrhea for weeks or longer, you may have a more serious condition like an inflammatory disease. Diarrhea can cause dehydration wehich can be life-threatening if untreated. Dehydration is particularly dangerous in children. Signs and symptoms of this may include:

  • Abdominal cramps
  • Loose and watery stools
  • Fever
  • Abdominal pain
  • Mucus in the stool
  • Blood in the stool
  • Nausea
  • Bloating
  • Urgent need to have a bowel movement

If you are an adult, call your doctor if you:

  • have a fever above 39 C
  • have bloody or black stools
  • have severe abdominal or rectal painbecome dehydrated
  • have experienced diarrhea beyond a few days

There are various disease and condition that can cause diarrhea;

  1. Bacteria and parasites – food or water that is contaminated can transmit bacteria and parasites to your body.
  2. Virus – viral hepatitis, Norwalk virus, and cytomegalovirus can cause diarrhea.
  3. Medications – Several medications can cause diarrhea including antibiotics. It can destroy both good and bad bacteria which may disturb the natural balance of bacteria in your intestines.
  4. Fructose – is a sugar found naturally in honey and fruits. It is sometimes added as a sweetener to certain beverages. In people who have trouble digesting fructose, it can lead to diarrhea.
  5. Lactose intolerance – Lactose is a sugar as well found in milk. People who have difficulty digesting lactose have diarrhea after having it.
    Diarrhea usually clears up quickly without treatment. To help you cope with your symptoms until diarrhea goes away, you may try to:
  • Drink plenty of clear fluids including water and juices. Avoid alcohol and caffeine.
  • Avoid certain foods such as fatty foods, dairy products, or highly seasoned foods for a few days.
  • Add semisolid and low-fibre foods slowly as your bowel movements return to normal.
  • Consider taking probiotics. These microorganisms may help restore a healthy balance to the intestinal tract. It is by boosting the level of good bacteria. Probiotics are available in liquid or capsule and are added to some foods such as yogurts.
  • Certain over-the-counter medications might help reduce the number of watery bowel movements and control severe symptoms.

How does Loperamide work?
Loperamide acts on opioid receptors that are found in the muscle lining the walls of the intestines. By acting on these receptors, the drug lessens the muscular contractions of the intestine that move food and faecal matter by the gut. This decreases the speed at which the gut contents are pushed by the intestine. Wherein, it also allows more time for water and electrocytes to be reabsorbed from the gut contents back into the body. This results in firmer stools that are passed less frequently.

How to take Loperamide?
If you are using the over-the-counter for self-treatment, carefully follow the instructions on the package. If your doctor has prescribed this medication, follow the directions strictly.
This medication is to be taken by mouth usually after each loose stool or as directed by your doctor. The dosage is based on your condition, age and weight. Adults should not use more than 8 mg in 24 hours if self-treating or 16 mg in 24 hours if under a doctor’s direction. Your doctor may start to give you a lower dose and slowly increase it. Don’t suddenly stop taking the drug without the consent of your doctor. If you wish to stop taking the medication, call your doctor first.
Diarrhea can cause a serious loss of body water. Drink plenty of fluids and minerals to replace what is lost. Let your doctor know right away if you have signs of dehydration. Tell as well your doctor if your condition does not improve after 2 days or if you develop new symptoms. If you missed a dose, ask your doctor for instructions. Do not double the dosage to make up for the missed one.

What are the side effects of Loperamide?
The side effects of medications can affect individual people in different ways. The following are some of the side effects that are known to be associated with this drug.

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Abdominal pain
  • Sleepiness
  • Flatulence
  • Dry mouth
  • Indigestion
  • Abdominal bloating or swelling
  • Skin reactions such as itch or rash
  • Difficulty passing urine
  • Fatigue

Warnings and Precautions

  • This is not recommended for use in people who had an allergic reaction to this drug. Tell your doctor if you have any allergies.
  • If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, planning to become pregnant, or become pregnant while having this treatment, call your doctor right away.
  • The drug should be used carefully in people with decreased liver function.
  • This drug may make you dizzy or drowsy. Do not drive, use any machinery, or do any activity that needs your full alertness until you know how this drug affects you.
  • Limit your alcohol beverages if you are taking this medication.
  • Low levels of magnesium or potassium in the blood may also increase our risk of QT prolongation. This may increase if you use water pills or if you have conditions such as vomiting or severe sweating.
  • Do not give this medication with others even if they have the same condition or symptoms as yours.

Loperamide should not be taken by people:
-with constipation, obstruction of the intestines, or other conditions where preventing gut movement should be avoided
-with diarrhea that contains yellow or greenish mucus/blood
-with diarrhea caused by infection of the gut with bacteria
-with diarrhea caused by inflammation of the gut due to antibiotic treatment