What is Loperamide Hydrochloride?
Loperamide Hydrochloride is a treatment for diarrhoea. It is most commonly known by its brand name, Imodium.
This medicine is used as the active ingredient in several branded diarrhoea medicines, such as Norimode.
What is Loperamide Hydrochloride used to treat?
Loperamide Hydrochloride 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.
It can be taken by adults and children over the age of 12 and works to decrease how often you need to go to the toilet by reducing intestinal contractions.
How does Loperamide Hydrochloride work?
Loperamide Hydrochloride is what is known as an anti-motility medicine. It works by slowing down your food as it travels through the digestive system. It does this by reducing the contractions in the intestines.
As a result, your body is able to draw more water in from the intestines, making your stools firmer. Because your stools are firmer, your urge to go to the toilet will be reduced significantly.
Why is Loperamide Hydrochloride recommended for diarrhoea?
Loperamide Hydrochloride can treat the symptoms of diarrhoea quickly and effectively, normally relieving the problem within five to seven days. It helps to slow down food as it passes through the gut, which reduces how often you need to have a bowel movement.
Loperamide Hydrochloride has been used since 1976, it also features on the Wold Health Organisation’s List of Essential Medicine.
Who can take Loperamide Hydrochloride?
Children under the age of 12 should never be given Loperamide Hydrochloride 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 Hydrochloride 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 this or any other medication
Read the patient information leaflet for full details on why Loperamide Hydrochloride may not be suitable for you.
Can you buy Loperamide Hydrochloride over the counter?
Loperamide Hydrochloride 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 you have irritable bowel syndrome, speak to your doctor.
You will require a prescription for any of the below:
- Children under 12 years of age
- Children aged 12 to 17 years old with IBS or long-lasting diarrhoea
- Adults aged 18 and over with long lasting diarrhoea
Can you buy Loperamide Hydrochloride online in the UK?
You can buy Loperamide Hydrochloride online from Medicine Direct after filling out an online questionnaire on our website. The answers you provide will be assessed by a registered prescriber to make sure that this medicine is safe for you to use.
Providing your order is placed by 2pm, you will receive your medicine the next day.
Only buy medicine online from registered pharmacies, like Medicine Direct. We are regulated by the General Pharmaceutical Council, ensuring we only sell safe and approved medicine.
Loperamide Hydrochloride alternatives
Many different medicines are available to effectively treat diarrhoea.
Imodium is the branded version of this medication. Loperamide hydrochloride is the active ingredient contained in Imodium, so it gets to work in the same way as the generic version. It is available as a syrup or as tablets or capsules.
Another medicine containing loperamide hydrochloride is Norimode.
Our pharmacists and prescribers follow NICE guidelines when prescribing Loperamide.
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.
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.
For more information on medicines that interact with Loperamide.
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.
We recommend BUMPS for additional information on taking Loperamide during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
The main active ingredient within this medicine is: Loperamide hydrochloride.
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