In this session, we will be discussing the consumer medication information for loperamide, trade name ImodiumTM.

What it’s for & How to take

Loperamide is used, along with other treatment such as fluid and salt replacement, to treat diarrhea. This medication decreases the urgent feeling as well as how often you need to move your bowel.

Loperamide is used to treat sudden attacks of diarrhea (including traveler’s diarrhea) as well as on-going diarrhea that someone with irritable bowel syndrome might have. This medication treats the symptoms of diarrhea, not the cause.

This medication is taken, by mouth, after each loose bowel movement or as directed. Adults, if self-treating with the over-the-counter loperamide, should never use more than four tablets in 24 hours. Read the package and do not take more than is written in the instructions.

If you are prescribed this medication, your doctor may have you take up to 8 tablets in 24 hours.

If your symptoms are not getting better within 48 hours or are getting worse, call your doctor.

If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time for your next dose, skip it and continue with your normal dose time. Do not take a double dose to make up the missed dose.

Most Important Warnings

  • Heart attack and death have been reported with use of higher than recommended dosages.
  • Do not use this medication in patients less than two years of age.
  • Avoid dosages higher than recommended due to the risk of serious heart problems.

Warnings & Cautions

  • Do not use loperamide in children less than two years of age. Use in children under six years of age is not recommended without direction from your doctor. Serious side effects may occur if children take too much of this medication.
  • This medicine should not be used to treat diarrhea if you have certain types of liver disease or specific types of gastrointestinal infections that are causing diarrhea. Talk with your doctor about this.
  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant before taking this medication. Loperamide passes into breast milk. Breastfeeding is not recommended while taking this medication.
  • This medication may make you dizzy, drowsy, or blur your vision. Do not drive or do any activity that requires focus and attention until you are sure you can do them safely. Avoid alcoholic beverages while taking loperamide.
  • While treating diarrhea, drink fluids that contain electrolytes to prevent dehydration. Ask your pharmacist which fluid is best for you to drink. Call your doctor right away if you develop symptoms of dehydration such as extreme thirst, decreased urination, muscle cramps or body weakness.

Interactions & Side Effects

  • Tell your pharmacist or doctor all your medication allergies so they may determine if loperamide is safe for you to take.
  • Avoid dangerous drug interactions. Tell your pharmacist or doctor all the other medication you are taking, including over the counter supplements, even if you don’t take them very often.
  • Ask your doctor if this medication is safe to take with your current health conditions. Tell your doctor if you have dehydration issues, liver disease, any bowel disease or any other medical condition.
  • While taking loperamide, you may feel some drowsiness, dizziness, headache and perhaps some constipation. If these or any other unwanted side effects persist, contact your doctor or pharmacist to talk about it with them.
  • Call your doctor right away if you have any severe stomach or abdominal pain, severe constipation, an unusually full feeling or any other severe side effect.

If you have any questions about what you have heard, contact your pharmacist or doctor. This session does not include all the potential interactions or side effects that this medication may cause. Ask your pharmacist how to store your medication and how you should dispose of it when you are done taking it. Do not share your medication with anyone, ever. Remember, this is not meant to replace your counseling session with your pharmacist. In the case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222.

Updated 7/20