This medication treats sudden diarrhea by slowing down the movement of the gut. This decreases the number of bowel movements and makes the stool less watery. Loperamide is also used in patients who have undergone an ileostomy to reduce the amount of discharge. It is also used to treat on-going diarrhea in people with inflammatory bowel disease but it does not treat the disease.
How to use loperamide
If you are using the over-the-counter product to self-treat, read all the directions on the product package before taking this medication. If your doctor has prescribed this medication, follow your doctor’s directions and the directions on your prescription label. If you have any questions, consult your doctor or pharmacist.
Take this medication by mouth, usually after each loose stool, or as directed by your doctor. Dosage is based on your condition and response to therapy. In children, dosage is also based on age and weight. Adults should not use more than 8 milligrams in 24 hours if self-treating, or 16 milligrams if under a doctor’s direction.
If you are taking the chewable tablet, take this medication on an empty stomach. The chewable tablets should be chewed thoroughly before swallowing.
If you are using the rapidly dissolving tablets, dry your hands before opening the blister pack to carefully remove a tablet. Do not push the tablet through the blister pack. Place the tablet on the tongue, allow it to dissolve completely, then swallow it with saliva. Do not crush, split, or break the tablet before taking it. Do not remove the tablet from the blister pack until just before taking. No water is needed to take this medication.
Diarrhea can cause a serious loss of body water (dehydration). Drink plenty of fluids and minerals (electrolytes) to replace what is lost. Tell your doctor immediately if you develop signs of dehydration (e.g., extreme thirst, decreased urination, muscle cramps, weakness, fainting). You may also need to change to a bland diet during this time to reduce irritation to your stomach/intestines. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
Tell your doctor if your diarrhea does not improve after 2 days, if your condition worsens, or if you develop new symptoms. If you develop blood in the stool, fever, or an uncomfortable fullness/swelling of the stomach/abdomen, or if you think you may have a serious medical problem, seek immediate medical attention.
If you are taking this medication under your doctor’s direction for ongoing diarrhea, tell your doctor if your diarrhea continues after 10 days of treatment.