Loperamide is used to treat diarrhoea.

Pronunciation: loe-PER-a-mide

What are loperamide’s uses?

Loperamide treats acute and chronic diarrhoea.

What dosage should you take?

Loperamide comes in tablet form. For adults, an initial dose of 4mg should be administered, followed by 2mg after each loose stool, until the diarrhoea is controlled. The maximum dose is 16mg in 24 hours.

For chronic diarrhoea, the daily dosage is 4 to 8mg daily in divided doses.

Children younger than two should not use it.

It should be used with caution in older children, so consult your doctor or Clicks pharmacist first. For children over two years, an initial dose of 1mg per 12.5kg mass is recommended, followed by 0.5mg per 12.5kg after each loose stool. Alternatively, administer 0.08mg to 0.24mg per kilogram per day in two to three divided doses.

Always check the correct dosages with your Clicks pharmacist first.

What special precautions should you take?

  • Loperamide is not recommended for use by children – dietary treatment is recommended where possible. It may cause excessive sedation or dehydration, especially in young children. However, it has been used for children over two years of age. Consult your doctor or Clicks pharmacist first.
  • Loperamide should be used with caution by the elderly too as it may cause chronic constipation – consult your doctor or Clicks pharmacist first.
  • Utmost caution should be observed in people suffering from bloody diarrhoea, as toxic megacolon may occur if there is colitis.
  • Consult your doctor or Clicks pharmacist about whether you can use it if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Dehydration may affect its efficacy. If dehydration occurs after use, discontinue use until electrolyte therapy is begun.
  • Fluid and electrolyte replacement and specific treatment for the disease causing the diarrhoea are essential.
  • If loperamide is not effective within 48 hours, stop using it and consult your doctor or Clicks pharmacist.
  • In chronic diarrhoea, you should respond to treatment within 10 days of a maximum dosage. However, if you don’t respond within this time, treatment is unlikely to be effective. Consult your doctor then.
  • Don’t drink alcohol when you’re using loperamide.

Loperamide should be avoided if you suffer from the following conditions:

  • Pseudomembranous colitis (inflammation of the colon)
  • Infective diarrhoea
  • Inflammatory bowel disease

Loperamide should be used with caution if you suffer from the following conditions:

  • Dehydration
  • Impaired liver function

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 loperamide’s side effects?

In general, loperamide is well tolerated in therapeutic doses. However, its side effects could include:

  • Flatulence
  • Constipation
  • Dry mouth
  • Blurred vision
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Stomach pain
  • Bloating
  • Rash

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 a doctor or an ambulance immediately if you suspect an overdose, including the following symptoms:

  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Urinating less than usual
  • Severe stomach cramps or bloating
  • Vomiting
The accuracy of this information was checked and approved by Clicks' pharmacist Waheed Abdurahman in April 2015