Loperamide is a medicine that is primarily used to treat diarrhoea, including diarrhoea associated with bowel conditions, such as Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
You can buy loperamide over the counter without a prescription, from most pharmacies and supermarkets. IMODIUM® can come in various forms:
- IMODIUM® Instants and Dual Action: Tablets
- IMODIUM® Originals: capsules
- IMODIUM® IBS Relief: liquid filled-gel capsules
How does loperamide work?
Loperamide is an anti-motility medicine which slows accelerated movement in the gut down to a more natural rhythm. This allows your body to reabsorb more water from your gut, making your stools harder.
It can be an effective treatment for short-term diarrhoea, like traveller’s diarrhoea, as well as on-going forms of diarrhoea from conditions such as IBS. Do note though, that loperamide only treats the symptoms of diarrhoea and not the actual cause of it.
Consult a doctor if your diarrhoea doesn’t get better after two days or if you start to feel worse. Seek immediate medical advice if you develop additional symptoms, such as a fever, blood in your stool, or abdominal swelling.
How long does loperamide take to work?
After you take loperamide, your diarrhoea should start to improve within one hour.
How to take loperamide & IMODIUM®
All Imodium products contain loperamide as their primary active ingredient.
Dosage instructions for each IMODIUM® product can be found on their respective product pages. Always read the label beforehand and follow the instructions on the package.
Other medications may not be suitable for mixing with loperamide, as they can affect the way it works. It’s advised to consult a doctor or pharmacist if you’re taking other medicines – particularly for conditions such as HIV, high cholesterol treatment, and other diarrhoea medicines – before taking loperamide.
You should also check with a doctor or pharmacist before taking loperamide, are already pregnant, or you’re concerned about how it may affect breastfeeding.
What is loperamide used for?
Loperamide is mainly used to treat sudden episodes of diarrhoea, including traveller’s diarrhoea. It can also be an effective treatment for diarrhoea caused by irritable bowel syndrome.
What are the loperamide side effects?
Like any other medication, loperamide has the potential to cause side effects. However, many people that take loperamide either don’t experience any side effects, or they only experience minor ones.
The common side effects from loperamide include:
- Feeling sick, constipation or wind
These side effects affect over 1 in 100 people, with more serious side effects being rare with loperamide.
Check the leaflet inside the medicine’s package to read the full list of side effects.
Can I take loperamide tablets whilst pregnant?
Usually, taking loperamide is not recommended during pregnancy. This is due to the fact that there’s not enough evidence to say whether this medicine is safe enough for pregnant women. If you’re pregnant, it’s best to talk to your doctor before taking loperamide to fully understand the potential risks and benefits.