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Medications for Gastroenteritis

What is Gastroenteritis?

Gastroenteritis is an infection or irritation of the gastrointestinal tract that commonly results in abdominal pain, diarrhea and/or vomiting. It may also be called food poisoning, traveler’s diarrhea, stomach flu, or intestinal flu.

Gastroenteritis can affect any age but is particularly common in children. Outbreaks of viral gastroenteritis can also occur regularly in places where a lot of people gather, such as cruise ships, college dormitories, daycare centers, or nursing homes. Anyone with a weakened immune system, such as those with cancer, HIV/AIDS, or taking certain medications (such as regular steroids) are also at higher risk of gastroenteritis. 

What Causes Gastroenteritis?

There are several different causes of gastroenteritis; however, the most common ones include:

  • Viruses, especially rotavirus in children, norovirus (a common cause of gastroenteritis in cruise ships)
  • Bacteria, especially Campylobacter, Escherichia coli (E. coli), salmonella
  • Parasites, such as Giardia.

Gastroenteritis is very contagious as the microbes that cause it are easily spread through contaminated food or water, person-to-person contact, and some viruses can be transmitted via infected droplets suspended in the air or through contaminated surfaces.

What are the Symptoms of Gastroenteritis?

Symptoms may develop within one to a few days after infection range from mild to severe.

Symptoms of gastroenteritis vary but may include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Cramping
  • Mild Dehydration
  • Diarrhea (watery, urgent, frequent, and sometimes explosive bowel movements)
  • Headache
  • Fecal incontinence (loss of control over bowel motions)
  • Loss of appetite
  • Mild fever and chills
  • Muscle aches and general body aches
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Poor feeding in infants
  • Tiredness and general body weakness.

Symptoms usually last one to two days but may persist for up to ten days. Ring your doctor for advice first before going in for an appointment if you are worried about your condition as it as gastroenteritis is very contagious and you could risk spreading it.

Always talk to your doctor if your symptoms have lasted longer than five days or have got worse, not better, if there is blood or pus in your stools, if your abdominal pain is constant, or if you develop significant signs of dehydration such as extreme thirst, dark or strong-smelling urine or passing only small amounts of urine, dry lips and mouth, and a lack of tears, your skin doesn’t retract back when pinched, or feel very lethargic.

Infants are particularly prone to dehydration and you should seek further advice if their nappies have been dry for longer than 4 to 6 hours or they develop a sunken fontanel (the soft spot on the top of a baby’s head).

How Is Gastroenteritis Diagnosed?

Gastroenteritis is usually just diagnosed by your symptoms, for example, if you are suffering from diarrhea and/or vomiting your doctor will say you have gastroenteritis. Further testing is usually only conducted if symptoms are severe or persistent and may include stool samples to identify the cause.

How is Gastroenteritis Treated?

The main treatment for gastroenteritis is rest, fluids, and limiting your diet for a few days while you have symptoms. For example:

  • Limit your intake of solid foods (this allows your stomach to settle)
  • Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and dairy products
  • Stop smoking or using products containing nicotine
  • Avoid sugary, fatty or highly seasoned foods, instead eat bland, dry foods such as crackers, toast, rice or potatoes
  • Take frequent small sips of liquid (thin broths, soups, diluted non-caffeinated drinks, and electrolyte replacement solutions)
  • Avoid taking medications that may irritate your stomach further such as NSAIDs (eg, aspirin, ibuprofen, diclofenac). Acetaminophen may be used instead, but sparingly
  • Continue breastfeeding if your baby has gastroenteritis and talk to your doctor about offering them rehydration solutions or regular formula.


Consider anti-diarrhea medications (eg, loperamide) to slow the diarrhea

Antibiotics are generally not given for most cases of gastroenteritis because they are ineffective if a virus is the cause and contribute to the development of antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria.

 

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Drugs Used to Treat Gastroenteritis

The following list of medications are in some way related to, or used in the treatment of this condition.

Drug name Rx / OTC Pregnancy CSA Alcohol Reviews Rating Popularity
Zofran Off Label B N 33 reviews
9.5

Generic name: ondansetron systemic

Drug class: 5HT3 receptor antagonists

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information

Off Label: Yes

ondansetron Off Label B N 39 reviews
9.4

Generic name: ondansetron systemic

Brand names:  Zofran, Zofran ODT

Drug class: 5HT3 receptor antagonists

For consumers: dosage, interactions,

For professionals: A-Z Drug Facts, AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information

Off Label: Yes

doxycycline D N X 2 reviews
5.0

Generic name: doxycycline systemic

Brand names:  Vibramycin, Doryx, Doxy 100, Monodox, Oraxyl, Morgidox, Doryx MPC …show all

Drug class: tetracyclines, miscellaneous antimalarials

For consumers: dosage, interactions,

For professionals: A-Z Drug Facts, AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information

Zofran ODT Off Label B N 1 review
10

Generic name: ondansetron systemic

Drug class: 5HT3 receptor antagonists

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: Prescribing Information

Off Label: Yes

Vibramycin D N X Add review
0.0

Generic name: doxycycline systemic

Drug class: tetracyclines, miscellaneous antimalarials

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: Prescribing Information

ceftriaxone B N Add review
0.0

Generic name: ceftriaxone systemic

Drug class: third generation cephalosporins

For consumers: dosage, interactions,

For professionals: A-Z Drug Facts, AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information

Doryx D N X Add review
0.0

Generic name: doxycycline systemic

Drug class: tetracyclines, miscellaneous antimalarials

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: Prescribing Information

Doxy 100 D N X Add review
0.0

Generic name: doxycycline systemic

Drug class: tetracyclines, miscellaneous antimalarials

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: Prescribing Information

Monodox D N X Add review
0.0

Generic name: doxycycline systemic

Drug class: tetracyclines, miscellaneous antimalarials

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: Prescribing Information

Oraxyl D N X Add review
0.0

Generic name: doxycycline systemic

Drug class: tetracyclines, miscellaneous antimalarials

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

Morgidox D N X Add review
0.0

Generic name: doxycycline systemic

Drug class: tetracyclines, miscellaneous antimalarials

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

Doryx MPC D N X Add review
0.0

Generic name: doxycycline systemic

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

ampicillin B N Add review
0.0

Generic name: ampicillin systemic

Drug class: aminopenicillins

For consumers: dosage, interactions,

For professionals: A-Z Drug Facts, AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information

Rotarix C N Add review
0.0

Generic name: rotavirus vaccine systemic

Drug class: viral vaccines

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: Prescribing Information

RotaTeq C N Add review
0.0

Generic name: rotavirus vaccine systemic

Drug class: viral vaccines

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: Prescribing Information

rotavirus vaccine C N Add review
0.0

Generic name: rotavirus vaccine systemic

Brand names:  Rotarix, RotaTeq

Drug class: viral vaccines

For consumers: dosage, interactions,

For professionals: A-Z Drug Facts, AHFS DI Monograph

Topics under Gastroenteritis

Learn more about Gastroenteritis

IBM Watson Micromedex

ICD-10 CM Clinical Codes (External)

Legend

Rx Prescription Only
OTC Over the Counter
Rx/OTC Prescription or Over the Counter
Off Label This medication may not be approved by the FDA for the treatment of this condition.
Pregnancy Category
A Adequate and well-controlled studies have failed to demonstrate a risk to the fetus in the first trimester of pregnancy (and there is no evidence of risk in later trimesters).
B Animal reproduction studies have failed to demonstrate a risk to the fetus and there are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women.
C Animal reproduction studies have shown an adverse effect on the fetus and there are no adequate and well-controlled studies in humans, but potential benefits may warrant use in pregnant women despite potential risks.
D There is positive evidence of human fetal risk based on adverse reaction data from investigational or marketing experience or studies in humans, but potential benefits may warrant use in pregnant women despite potential risks.
X Studies in animals or humans have demonstrated fetal abnormalities and/or there is positive evidence of human fetal risk based on adverse reaction data from investigational or marketing experience, and the risks involved in use in pregnant women clearly outweigh potential benefits.
N FDA has not classified the drug.
Controlled Substances Act (CSA) Schedule
N Is not subject to the Controlled Substances Act.
1 Has a high potential for abuse. Has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States. There is a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision.
2 Has a high potential for abuse. Has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States or a currently accepted medical use with severe restrictions. Abuse may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence.
3 Has a potential for abuse less than those in schedules 1 and 2. Has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States. Abuse may lead to moderate or low physical dependence or high psychological dependence.
4 Has a low potential for abuse relative to those in schedule 3. It has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States. Abuse may lead to limited physical dependence or psychological dependence relative to those in schedule 3.
5 Has a low potential for abuse relative to those in schedule 4. Has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States. Abuse may lead to limited physical dependence or psychological dependence relative to those in schedule 4.
Alcohol
X Interacts with Alcohol.

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