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Imodium A-D

Generic Name: loperamide (loe PER a mide)
Brand Names: Diamode, Imodium A-D

Medically reviewed on March 4, 2018.

What is Imodium?

Imodium (loperamide) slows the rhythm of digestion so that the small intestines have more time to absorb fluid and nutrients from the foods you eat.

Imodium is used to treat diarrhea.

Imodium is also used to reduce the amount of stool in people who have an ileostomy (re-routing of the bowel through a surgical opening in the stomach).

Important Information

You should not use Imodium if you have ulcerative colitis, bloody or tarry stools, diarrhea with a high fever, or diarrhea caused by antibiotic medication.

Do not take more than the recommended dose of this medicine. Misuse of loperamide can cause serious heart problems that could be fatal.

Serious heart problems may also happen if you take Imodium with other medicines. Ask a doctor or pharmacist about safely using medications together.

Loperamide may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be alert.

Imodium should not be given to a child younger than 2 years old. Loperamide can cause serious breathing problems and heart problems in a child.

Drink plenty of liquids while you are taking this medicine. It may take up to 48 hours of taking Imodium before your symptoms improve. Keep using the medication as directed and tell your doctor if your symptoms do not improve after 10 days of treatment.

Before taking this medicine

You should not use Imodium if you are allergic to loperamide, or if you have:

  • stomach pain without diarrhea;

  • diarrhea with a high fever;

  • ulcerative colitis;

  • diarrhea that is caused by a bacterial infection; or

  • stools that are bloody, black, or tarry.

Do not give Imodium to a child younger than 2 years old. Do not give this medicine to an older child or teenager without a doctor's advice.

Ask a doctor or pharmacist if it is safe for you to use this medicine if you have:

Ask your doctor before using Imodium to treat diarrhea caused by taking an antibiotic (Clostridium difficile).

Ask a doctor before using this medicine if you are pregnant.

You should not breast-feed while you are using loperamide.

How should I take Imodium?

Use Imodium exactly as directed on the label, or as prescribed by your doctor.

Imodium is safe when used as directed. TAKING TOO MUCH LOPERAMIDE CAN CAUSE SERIOUS HEART PROBLEMS OR DEATH.

Carefully follow all dosing directions on the medicine label. A safe dose of loperamide is different for an adult than for a child. This medicine doses in children are based on the child's age.

Take Imodium with a full glass of water. Diarrhea can cause your body to lose fluids and electrolytes. Drink plenty of liquids to keep from getting dehydrated.

The chewable tablet must be chewed before swallowing.

Shake the oral suspension (liquid) before you measure a dose. Use the dosing syringe provided, or use a medicine dose-measuring device (not a kitchen spoon).

Not all liquid forms of this medicine are the same strengths. Carefully follow all dosing instructions for the medicine you are using.

Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat. Do not allow the liquid medicine to freeze.

Stop taking Imodium and call your doctor if you still have diarrhea after 2 days of treatment, or if you also have stomach bloating.

Imodium dosing information

Usual Adult Dose for Diarrhea -- Acute:

4 mg orally after the first loose stool, then 2 mg orally after each unformed stool
Maximum dose: 16 mg per day

Comments:
-Clinical improvement is usually seen within 48 hours.

Use(s): Control and symptomatic relief of acute nonspecific diarrhea

Usual Adult Dose for Diarrhea -- Chronic:

4 mg orally after the first loose stool, then 2 mg orally after each unformed stool until diarrhea is controlled
Maximum dose: 16 mg per day

Comments:
-Clinical improvement is usually seen within 48 hours.
-After diarrhea is controlled, reduce dose to meet individual requirements
-When optimal daily dose has been established, this dose may be given as a single dose or in divided doses.
-The average maintenance dose in clinical trials was 4 to 8 mg daily.
-If no clinical improvement is seen with 16 mg per day after at least 10 days, symptoms are unlikely to be controlled by further administration.
-Administration may be continued if diarrhea cannot be adequately controlled with diet or specific treatment.

Use(s): Control and symptomatic relief of chronic diarrhea associated with inflammatory bowel disease.

Usual Pediatric Dose for Diarrhea -- Acute:

2 to 5 years (13 to 20 kg):
First day dosage schedule: 1 mg orally 3 times a day (3 mg total daily dose)
Subsequent daily dosage: 1 mg only after a loose stool, not to exceed 3 mg/day

6 to 8 years (20 to 30 kg):
First day dosage schedule: 2 mg orally twice a day 2 (4 mg total daily dose)
Subsequent daily dosage: 2 mg only after a loose stool, not to exceed 4 mg/day

9 to 12 years (over 30 kg):
First day dosage schedule: 2 mg orally 3 times a day (6 mg total daily dose)
Subsequent daily dosage: 2 mg only after a loose stool, not to exceed 6 mg/day

13 years and older:
4 mg orally after the first loose stool, then 2 mg orally after each unformed stool
Maximum dose: 16 mg per day

Comments:
-Do not use in patients less than 2 years old due to the risks of respiratory depression and serious cardiac adverse reactions.
-Clinical improvement is usually seen within 48 hours.

Use(s): Control and symptomatic relief of acute nonspecific diarrhea

See also: Dosage Information (in more detail)

What happens if I miss a dose?

Since Imodium is used when needed, it does not have a daily dosing schedule. Call your doctor if your symptoms do not improve after using this medicine.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222. An overdose of loperamide can be fatal.

Overdose symptoms may include fast or irregular heartbeats, or fainting. A person caring for you should seek emergency medical attention if you pass out and are hard to wake up.

What should I avoid while taking Imodium?

Avoid drinking tonic water. It can interact with loperamide and may cause serious heart problems.

Avoid becoming dehydrated by drinking plenty of fluids. Avoid vigorous exercise or exposure to hot weather if you are dehydrated.

Imodium liquid may contain alcohol. Avoid driving or hazardous activity until you know how this medicine will affect you. Your reactions could be impaired.

Imodium side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction to Imodium (hives, difficult breathing, swelling in your face or throat) or a severe skin reaction (fever, sore throat, burning in your eyes, skin pain, red or purple skin rash that spreads and causes blistering and peeling).

Stop taking this medicine and call your doctor at once if you have:

  • diarrhea that is watery or bloody;

  • stomach pain or bloating;

  • ongoing or worsening diarrhea; or

  • fast or pounding heartbeats, fluttering in your chest, shortness of breath, and sudden dizziness (like you might pass out).

Common Imodium side effects may include:

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

See also: Side effects (in more detail)

What other drugs will affect Imodium?

Sometimes it is not safe to use certain medications at the same time. Some drugs can affect your blood levels of other drugs you take. Ask a doctor or pharmacist about safely using medications together.

Imodium can cause a serious heart problem. Your risk may be higher if you also use certain other medicines for infections, heart problems, depression, mental illness, cancer, malaria, or HIV.

Many drugs can affect loperamide. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed here. Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any medicine you start or stop using.

Further information

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use Imodium only for the indication prescribed.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

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