Antidiarrheals for irritable bowel syndrome

Antidiarrheal medications, such as diphenoxylate hydrochloride (Lomotil) and loperamide hydrochloride (Imodium), slow intestinal movements. This allows stool to stay in the intestine longer, allowing more water to be absorbed, which makes the stool formed rather than watery when it is passed.

Diphenoxylate may cause dry skin, itching, dizziness, drowsiness, nausea, or vomiting. Psychological dependence may occur in high doses.

Loperamide may cause abdominal pain, dry mouth, nausea, vomiting, or dizziness. These side effects are usually minor and do not last long. This medication may not help people who have alternating periods of diarrhea and constipation because it may make the constipation worse.

These medications may be dangerous if they are used by people who have certain types of intestinal infections or who have inflammatory bowel disease. You should not use these medications if you have a fever or blood in your stool.

See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)

Last Updated: May 23, 2008

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