Antidiarrheal medicines for inflammatory bowel disease

If you have mild inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease) and diarrhea is your main symptom, try an antidiarrheal medicine.

Take antidiarrheals only under your health professional's supervision. You should not take them if you have a fever or blood in your stools. Check with your health professional if you have been taking antidiarrheals for 10 days and still have diarrhea.

Some of these medicines, such as loperamide (Imodium A-D, for example), are available without a prescription. Others, such as diphenoxylate (Lomotil), are available only with a prescription. These medicines contain ingredients that slow or stop the painful spasms in your intestines that cause symptoms. They can be dangerous if you use them when you have moderate or severe inflammation of the colon, because they can cause a serious complication called toxic megacolon in which the colon swells to many times its normal size.

Last Updated: October 9, 2008

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