Imodium or Loperamide is a medication that is used to decrease the frequency of diarrhea. It is an over-the-counter medication and can be given as a prescription. It slows digestions so that the small intestines have enough time to absorb nutrients and fluids from the food that you eat. It started being used medically in 1976 but was first made in 1969. For people with inflammatory bowel disease, Imodium is also used mostly to treat on-going diarrhea. It is categorized under the known family of these medications called antidiarrheal. If one has undergone an ileostomy, Imodium can be used to decrease the amount of discharge in the patients.
How does Imodium work?
The normal movements of your intestine can become overactive when the cells in your small intestines and colon get irritated. This leads to food passing too quickly along the intestines. Fluids and other minerals are not absorbed by the intestines hence leading to wet stool. Loperamide, an ingredient contained in Imodium slows the muscular contractions of the intestine hence slowing down the movement of food in the bowels and gives the intestines more time to absorb nutrients and fluids from the food. The symptoms usually begin to improve in less than two days. Some veterinarians have been known to also use Imodium while treating Diarrhea in dogs.
How to use Imodium?
This medication comes in four forms:
- a) Caplets
- b) Quick dissoluble tablets
- c) Solution
- d) Liquid gels
It is advisable to take the medication as your doctor or the pharmacist tells you.
- For acute or chronic diarrhea for people 12 years of age or older, one should take a dose of 4 mg, followed by a 2 mg dose after each time you experience diarrhea.
- For children who are 8 up to 12 years of age, the recommended dose for the first day is 2 mg 3 times daily.
- For children 6 up to 8 years of age the recommended dose for the first day is 2 mg twice daily.
- Children under the age of 6 should always not be given Imodium unless directed by a doctor.
♦ If you go 24 hours without any diarrhea or have hard stool, you should stop using Imodium.
♦ Imodium can be taken with or without food and if you are using the capsules they should be swallowed whole with a glass of water.
♦ The chewable tablet should be taken on an empty stomach.
♦ While you are experiencing diarrhea make sure you take plenty of water as you lose a lot of water and this can lead to dehydration.
What are the side effects of Imodium?
Side effects related to the use of this medication include:
- Nausea or vomiting
- Dry mouth
- Headache with dizziness
- Gas If any of the side effects become severe, you should contact your doctor immediately.
Who not to use Imodium?
♦ If you have certain medical conditions you should not take this medication before consulting your doctor.
♦ If you are allergic to Loperamide you should not always take this medicine.
♦ You should not always take this medication if you have:
- AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome)
- Any history of liver disease
- Blood or mucus in your stool
- Infections of the stomach or intestines.
- If you are using any antibiotics If you are pregnant you need to discuss with your doctor whether it is healthy for you to take the medication. Mothers with infants should also ask their doctors. You should not breastfeed while you always are taking Imodium.
Imodium and Opiate withdrawal:
Experts have discovered a trend among addicts suffering from Opiate withdrawal. They are running to this medication to help them with withdrawal symptoms. These are addicts who can’t find painkillers even though Imodium is not a painkiller.
Since Imodium is an Opiate receptor agonist, people use it thinking that it will act as a replacement to their normal Opiate medicine. Now, there is no scientific study that shows that large doses of Imodium can help in reducing withdrawal symptoms. It’s low cost and ease of accessibility makes it a favorite among abusers.
According to Daniel Rusyniak, MD, who is an emergency medicine physician at the Indiana University Health, Loperamide works by targeting opioid receptors in the gut. He has treated two people who had overdosed on Imodium. This is a worrying trend and it seems to be rising as the government cracks down on other painkiller medications that addicts normally use. Although Imodium is not dangerous, when taken in large doses like most drug abusers do, it can lead to many complications. Most doctors are calling on law makers to get involved and help contain the situation before it gets out of hand.