- Treats chronic diarrhoea
- Eases symptoms
- Reduces contractions from the intestines
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What is Loperamide?
Loperamide is most commonly known by its brand name, Imodium. This medication is an opioid with minimum absorption from the gut.
Available to buy in the form of capsules or liquid, it contains the active ingredient loperamide hydrochloride.
You are able to purchase 2mg capsules Loperamide from a registered pharmacy like Medicine Direct.
What is Loperamide used for?
Loperamide is most commonly used to treat chronic diarrhoea associated with conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease and travellers diarrhoea. Loperamide acts as an anti-diarrhoeal agent, helping to manage symptoms.
This medication slows the contractions of the intestines, acting as an effective form of diarrhoea relief.
Who can take Loperamide?
Loperamide capsules are available to purchase from pharmacies and supermarkets for diarrhoea relief, usually in packets of 30 capsules. They are also available on prescription.
You can purchase these capsules without a prescription for:
- Adults with IBS diarrhoea, as long as your doctor has previously diagnosed you with IBS
- Anyone over the age of 12 who has short-term diarrhoea
If you are unsure whether or not you have IBS, you should speak to your doctor.
You will require a prescription for any of the below:
- Children under 12 years of age
- Children age 12 to 17 years old with IBS or long lasting diarrhoea
- Adults aged 18 and over with long lasting diarrhoea
Children under the age of 12 should never be given Loperamide unless it is prescribed by a doctor.
If any of the below apply to you, you should not take this medicine:
- You are constipated or your stomach looks swollen
- You have severe diarrhoea after taking antibiotics
- You are suffering from an inflammatory bowel condition such as ulcerative colitis and have recently had a flare-up
You should consult your doctor or pharmacist before taking Loperamide if:
- You are pregnant, trying to get pregnant or are breastfeeding
- You have had diarrhoea for more than 48 hours
- You have liver problems
- You are unable to digest certain sugars
- You have blood in your stools and a temperature higher than 38C
- You have AIDS and your stomach becomes swollen
- You have previously had an allergic reaction to Loperamide or any other medication
If you have diarrhoea with IBS, you should also consult your doctor before taking this medicine if:
- You suffer bad constipation
- You are over the age of 40 and it's been a while since your last IBS attack
- You are over the age of 40 and your IBS symptoms are different this time
- You have lost weight or lost your appetite
- You have recently had blood in your stools
- You have recently been abroad
- You have a temperature of more than 38C
- You are feeling sick or vomiting
- You have trouble urinating or find it painful to do so
Possible side effects
As with any medicine, there is a risk of suffering from side effects when you take Loperamide.
There are several common side effects associated with Loperamide. If these symptoms bother you or persist, you should speak to your doctor:
- Feeling sick
- Feeling dizzy
- Dry mouth
Loperamide capsules should be swallowed whole with a drink of water.
The dose you should take will depend on your symptoms and age.
For adults with diarrhoea and IBS
Take two capsules straight away, followed by one capsule after each runny bowel movement.
You should stop taking Loperamide as soon as your symptoms settle down. Do not take it for more than 48 hours without speaking to your doctor.
You should not exceed the recommended maximum daily dose. If you have bought them from a shop, this will be 6 capsules in a 24 hour period.
If you have bought them from a pharmacy or have been prescribed them, this will be 8 capsules.
Diarrhoea relief for adults with long lasting diarrhoea
Most cases of diarrhoea will be resolved in 5 to 7 days, but if it persists after 7 days, you should speak to your doctor to get to the root of the problem.
The usual starting dose for this medicine is 2 to 4 capsules, spread throughout the day. You will likely be given a packet of 30 capsules.
Some patients may need higher doses, such as if they suffer from stoma, but the dosage should only be increased if advised by a doctor.
Diarrhoea relief for children
Children over the age of 12 who have short term diarrhoea do not need a prescription for Loperamide.
If they are aged 12 to 17 and have IBS or long lasting diarrhoea, they will need to be prescribed this medicine.
How will it treat my symptoms?
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Loperamide Side Effects
Experiencing serious side effects while using Loperamide capsules is rare. However, if you do experience one or more of the below symptoms, you need to contact your doctor immediately:
- Your movement becomes clumsy or uncoordinated
- You feel faint or less alert
- You have passed out
In very rare cases, you may suffer a serious allergic reaction to Loperamide (anaphylaxis).
If any of these symptoms affect you, you should either call 999 or go to A&E immediately as you may need hospital treatment:
- You have tightness in the chest or throat
- Your mouth, lips, tongue, face or throat begins to swell
- You are finding it difficult to breathe or speak
- You are wheezing
- You get a skin rash that is red, blistered, peeling, swollen or itchy
This list is note exhaustive, you should read the patient information leaflet that will be inside your medicine's packet.
Loperamide Warnings and drug interactions
There are certain medicines which could interfere with the effectiveness of Loperamide.
Before taking this medicine, you should check with your pharmacist or doctor if you are currently using:
- Any other medicines for diarrhoea relief, constipation or stomach/bowel conditions
- Itraconazole or Ketoconazole
If you require severe diarrhoea relief and take metformin for diabetes, medicines for high blood pressure or heart failure, you should speak to your doctor before taking Loperamide. You might be instructed to cease using these medicines for a few days until your diarrhoea has gone.
You should also inform your doctor or pharmacist if you are currently using any herbal remedies, vitamins, prescription or non-prescription medicines or supplements.
Pregnancy and breast feeding warning
It is not recommended to take loperamide during pregnancy. Due to the small amount of loperamide secreated in breast milk, it is not advised to take loperamide when breastfeeding. Always speak to your doctor before taking medication when pregnant, planning to conceive or breastfeeding.
The active ingredient in 2mg capsules Loperamide is loperamide hydrochloride.
Inactive ingredients within these capsules are: Lactose, Maize Starch, Talc and Magnesium Stearate (E572).
The capsule comprises of: Titanium Dioxide (E171), Black Ferrous Oxide (E172), Yellow Ferric Oxide (E172), Indigo Carmine (E132), Erythrosine (E127) and Gelatin.
How it works - get your medicine in 3 simple steps
- 1 Choose your treatment Select the treatment or medication you need and answer a few questions online regarding your condition.
- 2 Online consultation Our Independent Prescribers will review your questions and assess your suitability for the medication.
- 3 Receive your delivery Your medication is dispensed and delivered directly to you from our UK based Pharmacy.