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Imodium (Loperamide) is an over-the-counter medication used to treat diarrhea. Imodium can be used to treat both short-term (acute diarrhea), and chronic diarrhea, as well as to reduce the symptoms of traveler’s diarrhea.
Imodium contains the active ingredient loperamide, which works by slowing down the movement of the intestines and reducing the number of bowel movements. Loperamide binds to a molecule (receptors) in the gut that is responsible for controlling the speed of digestion. By blocking these receptors, Imodium reduces the speed of digestion and absorption of liquid in the intestines, which helps reduce the number of bowel movements.
Imodium can help control and relieve the symptoms of diarrhea, but it should not be used for longer than two days in case of acute diarrhea. It is also used to decrease the amount of drainage in patients who have ileostomies.
Uses and Dosage
Loperamide comes in tablet form and is typically taken orally after every loose stool, or as your doctor has instructed. The dosage for this medication is dependent on your individual condition and response to treatment. In children, the dosage should be determined based on their age and weight.
If you are taking this medication without a doctor's supervision, you should limit your consumption to 8 milligrams within a 24-hour period. If a doctor has prescribed this medication, you should not exceed 16 milligrams within a 24-hour period.
For the treatment of acute diarrhea:
- Adults and teenagers: The usual dose is 4 mg (2 tablets) after the first loose bowel movement, and 2 mg (1 tablet) after each loose bowel movement after the first dose has been taken. No more than 8 mg (4 tablets) should be taken in any 24-hour period.
- Children 9 to 11 years of age: The usual dose is 2 mg (1 tablet) after the first loose bowel movement, and 1 mg (½ tablet) after each loose bowel movement after the first dose has been taken. No more than 6 mg (3 tablets) should be taken in any 24-hour period.
- Children 6 to 8 years of age: the usual dose is 2 mg (1 tablet) after the first loose bowel movement, and 1 mg (½ tablet) after each loose bowel movement after the first dose has been taken. No more than 4 mg (2 tablets) should be taken in any 24-hour period.
- Children up to 6 years of age: Use is not recommended unless directed by your doctor.
Imodium may cause serious side effects including:
- Stomach pain or bloating
- Ongoing or worsening diarrhea
- Fast or pounding heartbeat
- Fluttering in your chest
- Shortness of breath
The Most Common Side Effects of Imodium Include:
- Stomach cramps
Form and Strength
Loperamide (the generic alternative of Imodium) is available in the following form and strength:
- 2 mg
- In some cases, loperamide can lead to serious allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis, which is life-threatening and requires immediate medical attention. Other signs that should not be ignored include a rash, itching, hoarseness, difficulty breathing or swallowing, or swelling of the hands, face, or mouth.
- It is highly recommended that those taking loperamide for chronic diarrhea should have their doctor check them at regular visits for any potential issues or side effects caused by the medicine.
- If the medicine is taken for acute diarrhea, it should not be used for more than 2 days, unless specifically directed by a doctor. If symptoms persist after two days or if a fever develops, medical advice should be sought.
- Patients should be mindful that loperamide may increase the risk of developing stomach or bowel problems. Symptoms of this could be bloating, stools containing blood, constipation, fever, lack of appetite, nausea, vomiting, or stomach pain.
- The medicine may make some users feel dizzy, drowsy, or tired. Therefore, activities that require alertness, such as driving or operating machinery, should be avoided until the effects of the medicine are known.
- You should not take any other medicines, either prescription or over the counter, without first consulting one's doctor. This also applies to herbal or vitamin supplements.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does Imodium take to work?
Imodium usually takes about one to four hours to start working. However, it can take up to 48 hours for the medication to fully take effect.
Are there any side effects?
Yes, Imodium can cause side effects including constipation, nausea, dizziness, headache, and abdominal discomfort. If you experience any of these side effects, be sure to contact your doctor.
Is Imodium safe for long-term use?
Yes, Imodium is generally safe to use for the long-term treatment of chronic diarrhea. However, it is important to speak to your doctor and make sure you are taking the correct dosage for your condition.
Are there any alternatives to Imodium?
Yes, there are several alternatives to Imodium, including bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto-Bismol) and loperamide HCl (Imodium A-D). These medications work in a similar way to Imodium and can be used to treat both short-term and chronic diarrhea. However, it is important to speak to your doctor before using any of these medications.
It's important to purchase Imodium from verified Canadian pharmacy.