Imodium. To Take Or Not To Take?

Imodium. Chronic diarrhea causes. Alternative options for diarrhea. How to treat diarrhea?

Leran here how to treat diarrhea and balance your gastro-intestinal (gut) flora.

This medication's labeled indication is for treatment of chronic diarrhea associated with inflammatory bowel diseases (like Crohns disease, Ulcerative colitis).

This product is also labeled to be used for acute non-specific diarrhea.

The OTC labeling includes control of symptoms of diarrhea and Traveler’s diarrhea.

Imodium is an over the counter anti-diarrheal product.

Its chemical name is loperamide. It’s effective and used for years in the US and other countries. It’s often misspelled as Immodium.

Why would your doctor or pharmacist hesitate recommending this product?

Imodium is used for diarrhea for years. Why is it not the first line agent?

Loperamide is an OTC product for diarrhea. Should you reach for it at the first sign of diarrhea?

For years, the common practice of doctors would be to write a prescription for something to stop diarrhea right away. That has changed. Now, the idea is to let nature take its course and let the body get rid of the “invader”, unless there’s a bigger problem behind it. The thought behind this is that acute diarrhea would stop faster if you let the digestive tract cleanse itself and don’t take the medications to actually stop it.

Acute diarrhea is a wonderful defense mechanism that your body uses to get rid of “bad, foreign invaders”. That’s why doctors and pharmacists don’t recommend this medication first line. But it’s definitely reserved for chronic diarrhea symptoms, severe diarrhea cases or for diarrhea in the elderly.

Chronic diarrhea causes can be numerous. One of the chronic diarrhea causes is long term antibiotic use. Probiotics would be a wonderful choice for that type of chronic diarrhea.

Loperamide (commonly misspelled as Immodium) mostly works well and works fast. But it may prolong a viral infection if taken for diarrhea caused by a virus because this medication decreases gut motility (the speed at which contents are moved through the gut).

The most common side effects of loperamide are abdominal cramping, dizziness, nausea and constipation. The constipation may become bad enough to require treatment. It may turn into a vicious cycle.

The good thing about loperamide is that it diminishes electrolyte loss. That means it decreases the chances of dehydration.

If you are looking for alternatives, you can try to stop diarrhea with any of these products:

  • Activated charcoal.
  • Bentinide Magma.
  • Homeopathic preparations by HEEL, Boiron, etc. for diarrhea.
  • Probiotics.

When choosing loperamide consider how prone you are to constipation because it is a major side effect of this medication. Also, consider if your diarrhea is viral or bacterial. These types may or may not require medical treatment.

If your doctor recommended loperamide to you for your chronic or Traveler’s diarrhea take it as directed and don’t overdose to avoid complications like toxic mega colon, severe constipation or others.

It’s also very important to consult your doctor if diarrhea doesn’t stop after 2 days of taking Imodium.

I wish you to feel good!

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