Diphenoxylate-atropine

Diphenoxylate-atropine is used to treat diarrhoea.

Pronunciation: dye-fen-OX-i-late / AT-row-peen

What are diphenoxylate-atropine’s uses?

Both diphenoxylate and atropine work by slowing the movement of the intestines and thus help with the treatment of diarrhoea.

What dosage should you take?

For adults, a typical dose is initially 10mg of diphenoxylate (in tablet form), followed by 5mg six to eight hourly until diarrhoea is controlled. 

Children younger than four years of age should not take it, and some medical authorities recommend that its use should be avoided in children younger than 12. Consult your doctor or Clicks pharmacist first.

What special precautions should you take?

  • Diphenoxylate-atropine should be used as a supplement and not as a substitute for appropriate oral rehydration therapy (drinking water with sugar and salt added – that is, an oral rehydration solution) when treating diarrhoea.
  • Do not use it for longer than two days.
  • Ensure you are adequately hydrated while taking it.
  • Ask your Clicks pharmacist to recommend an alternative if you’re pregnant.
  • While breastfeeding, diphenoxylate-atropine is excreted in your breast milk so rather avoid it.
  • Children with Down’s Syndrome should not use it.
  • The elderly should rather avoid use of it.
  • Take care when driving or performing tasks that require you to be alert, as diphenoxylate-atropine could make you drowsy or dizzy.
  • Don’t drink alcohol while taking it.

Diphenoxylate-atropine should be avoided if you suffer from the following conditions:

  • An allergy to either drug, including hyoscyamine
  • If you have diarrhoea caused by conditions like pseudomembranous colitis, food poisoning and enterotoxin-producing bacteria
  • Severe colitis (inflammation of the colon) from inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
  • Intestinal obstruction
  • Jaundice
  • Myasthenia gravis (an autoimmune neuromuscular disease)
  • Urinary blockage
  • Heart problems with severe bleeding

Diphenoxylate-atropine should be used with caution if you suffer from the following conditions:

  • Glaucoma (an eye disorder that results in optic nerve damage)
  • Prostate problems such as an enlarged prostate
  • Liver disease
  • Dehydration
  • Asthma

What drug interactions could you experience?

To avoid adverse drug interactions, always inform your doctor or Clicks pharmacist what prescription and non-prescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements and herbal products you are taking or planning to take.

What are diphenoxylate-atropine’s side effects?

Side effects could include

This is not a complete list of side effects. It’s essential that you call your doctor should you notice any severe or odd side effects.

What are the overdose symptoms?

Call your doctor or an ambulance immediately if these overdose symptoms present:

  • Increased heartbeat
  • Muscle weakness
  • High fever
  • Irregular breathing
  • Severe drowsiness
  • Seizures
  • Loss of consciousness
The accuracy of this information was checked and approved by Clicks' pharmacist Waheed Abdurahman in April 2015