Loperamide (most commonly known by the trade name ‘Imodium’) is an anti-diarrhoeal medicine. It is used for a range of problems including travellers’ diarrhoea. Our main use of it in the pelvic floor service is in trying to improve bowel function and control (continence).
HOW DOES IT IMPROVE BOWEL CONTROL?
Many people who have problems with bowel control (incontinence) have loose bowel motions or find that their problem is worse if their motions are loose. Taking loperamide will make motions firmer/ drier and therefore easier to control. This medicine has also been shown to have other effects, including tightening the sphincter muscle of the bottom and in altering reflexes between the bowel and the sphincter muscle.
HOW SHOULD I USE LOPERAMIDE?
Your doctor, or our pelvic floor nurses, will advise you on how to use this medicine. The main aim is to try to get the motions firmer, without getting constipated. In some patients, this will require very little medicine. When starting to use loperamide, you should start with a very low dose and try this for a week. If it has no effect, then you can increase the dose slowly until it has an effect on firming the motions and improving control. If you think you are getting constipated or are unable to open your bowels, you should stop taking it. You should aim to find a regular dose that controls your symptoms without making you excessively constipated.
WHAT IF I NEED ONLY A TINY AMOUNT?
Sometimes patients find that they only need to take as little as one tablet (2mg) every other day. If you find you require only a very low dose, you may find Imodium syrup more convenient as it is easier to regulate the dose. The syrup form of the drug, however, requires a prescription.
DO I TAKE IT EVERYDAY?
If you are taking it because of incontinence, then you might decide just to take it on odd occasions when your bowels are particularly loose. Alternatively, you might choose to take it only when you are going out for the day and are afraid that you might be unable to get to a toilet quickly. You should find the dose and method of taking this medicine that best suits you.
WHAT IS THE MAXIMUM AMOUNT THAT I SHOULD TAKE?
You should not take more than eight tablets (16mg) per day unless instructed otherwise by your doctor.
Please be advised that the information on this website is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment