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Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed by Dr Karen MartinReviewed on 19.10.2023 | 2 minutes read

Loperamide is a medication used to treat diarrhea, 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, softgels, and liquid. The "multi-symptom relief" version of Imodium also contains the medication simethicone, which helps relieve trapped gas.

Doctor’s advice

Who is it for?

Loperamide can be used by anyone above the age of 12 years to relieve short-term diarrhea. It can also be used for loose stools associated with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) in adults over 18 years who have been diagnosed by their doctor.

How should I take it?

For adults and children over 12 years treating short-term diarrhea: take two capsules initially, followed by one capsule after each loose bowel movement.

You should not take more than 4 capsules in a day and should not use loperamide for longer than 2 days.

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 conditions 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 diarrhea after taking antibiotics, if you have a fever, and have blood in your stools. This may be a sign that you have an infection, and you should speak with your doctor promptly.

Are there any side effects?

As with any medication, 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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This article has been written by UK-based doctors and pharmacists, so some advice may not apply to US users and some suggested treatments may not be available. For more information, please see our T&Cs.
Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed by Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed on 19.10.2023
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