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Loperamide

Dr Roger Henderson
Reviewed by Dr Roger HendersonReviewed on 13.10.2023 | 3 minutes read
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Loperamide is a medication used to treat diarrhoea, and is commonly found as the branded version Imodium. Loperamide works by slowing down the natural muscle contractions (peristalsis) that occur in the intestines. This in turn gives your body more time to absorb fluid and electrolytes. Loperamide can come in different formulations such as capsules, tablets, liquid, and "instant melts" that dissolve on the tongue. The "Dual-Action Relief" version of Imodium also contains the medication simeticone, which helps relieve trapped wind and may also be suitable for people with IBS Diarrhoea.

Doctor’s advice

Who is it for?

Loperamide can be used by anyone above the age of 12 for short term diarrhoea. It can also be used for loose stool associated with irritable bowel syndrome in adults over 18 years who have been diagnosed by their doctor.

What is the usual dosage?

Standard Imodium (or Loperamide 2mg capsules):

  • For adults treating short-term diarrhoea, take two capsules initially, followed by one capsule after each loose bowel movement. You should not take more than 6 capsules in a day and should not use loperamide for longer than 2 days.
  • For children between the age of 12 and 17 for treating short-term diarrhoea, take one capsule initially, followed by one caplet after each loose bowel movement. You should not take more than 6 capsules in a day and should not use loperamide for longer than 2 days.

Imodium Dual-Action Relief Caplets (Loperamide 2mg with Simitacone):

  • For adults over 18 years take two caplets initially, followed by one after each loose bowel movement. You should not take more than four capsules in a day and should not use loperamide for longer than 2 days.
  • For children between the age of 12 and 17 for take one capsule initially, followed by one caplet after each loose bowel movement. You should not take more than four capsules in a day and should not use loperamide for longer than 2 days.

Pharmacist recommended products

Should anyone avoid taking it?

Like all medications, don’t take them if you have previously had an allergic reaction to the medication. Avoid starting loperamide if you have a diagnosis of inflammatory bowel condition like ulcerative colitis and have not consulted your doctor, or if you are constipated or have a severely painful swollen stomach.

You should not take loperamide if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. You should avoid loperamide if you have severe diarrhoea after taking antibiotics if you have a fever and have blood in your stools. This may be a sign you have an infection, and you should speak with your doctor promptly.

Are there any side-effects?

As with any medications, some people are bound to get some unwanted side effects. Some of the common ones include dizziness, drowsiness, constipation, stomach pain, itching, and skin rashes. You should consult your doctor if you experience any severe symptoms.

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Dr Roger Henderson
Reviewed by Dr Roger Henderson
Reviewed on 13.10.2023
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