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All about: Maalox Anti-Diarrheal

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Generic Name: loperamide (oral) (loe PER a mide)
Brand Names: Imodium, Imodium A-D, Imotil, Kaopectate Caplet, Maalox Anti-Diarrheal

What is loperamide?

Loperamide slows the rhythm of digestion so that the small intestines have more time to absorb fluid and nutrients from the foods you eat.

Loperamide is used to treat diarrhea. Loperamide is also used to reduce the amount of stool in people who have an ileostomy (re-routing of the bowel through a surgical opening in the stomach).

Loperamide may also be used for purposes other than those listed in this medication guide.

What is the most important information I should know about loperamide?

Drink extra water while you are taking this medication to keep from getting dehydrated. It may take up to 48 hours of taking loperamide before your symptoms improve. For best results, keep using the medication as directed. Talk with your doctor if your symptoms do not improve after 10 days of treatment. Loperamide can cause side effects that may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be awake and alert.

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking loperamide?

Do not use this medication if you are allergic to loperamide, or if you have:
  • stools that are bloody, black, or tarry; or

  • if you have diarrhea that is caused by taking an antibiotic.

Before taking loperamide, tell your doctor if you are allergic to any drugs, or if you have:

  • a fever;

  • mucus in your stools;

  • a history of liver disease; or
  • if you are taking an antibiotic.

If you have any of these conditions, you may not be able to use loperamide, or you may need a dosage adjustment or special tests during treatment.

FDA pregnancy category B. This medication is not expected to be harmful to an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment. It is not known whether loperamide passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby. Do not give this medicine to a child younger than 2 years old without the advice of a doctor.

How should I take loperamide?

Use this medication exactly as directed on the label, or as it has been prescribed by your doctor. Do not use the medication in larger amounts, or use it for longer than recommended.

Take loperamide with a full glass of water. Drink extra water while you are taking this medication to keep from getting dehydrated.

Loperamide is usually taken at the first sign of diarrhea, and again if diarrhea comes back. The first dose of loperamide is usually twice as much as the following doses. Do not take this medication more than 3 times in 24 hours without your doctor's advice.

Immodium A-D Liquid and New Immodium A-D Liquid contain two different strengths of loperamide. If you switch from using one brand to using the other, follow the dosing instructions carefully. Immodium A-D Liquid also contains a small amount of alcohol, but New Immodium A-D Liquid does not.

Shake the liquid form of this medicine well just before you measure a dose. To be sure you get the correct dose, measure the liquid with a marked measuring spoon or medicine cup, not with a regular table spoon. If you do not have a dose-measuring device, ask your pharmacist for one. It may take up to 48 hours of using this medicine before your symptoms improve. For best results, keep using the medication as directed. Talk with your doctor if your symptoms do not improve after 10 days of treatment. Store loperamide at room temperature away from moisture and heat. Do not allow the liquid form of this medicine to freeze.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Since loperamide is usually taken as needed, you may not be on a dosing schedule. If you are taking the medication regularly, take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take the medicine at your next regularly scheduled time. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention if you think you have used too much of this medicine.

Symptoms of a loperamide overdose may include dizziness, drowsiness, urinating less than usual, severe stomach cramps or bloating, and vomiting.

What should I avoid while taking loperamide?

Loperamide can cause side effects that may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be awake and alert.

Avoid becoming overheated or dehydrated during exercise and in hot weather. Follow your doctor's instructions about the type and amount of liquids you should drink.

Antibiotic medicines can cause diarrhea, which may be a sign of a new infection. If you have diarrhea that is watery or has blood in it, call your doctor. Do not use loperamide to stop the diarrhea unless your doctor has told you to.

Loperamide side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat. Stop using this medication and call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects:
  • stomach pain or bloating;

  • ongoing or worsening diarrhea;

  • diarrhea that is watery or bloody; or

  • fever, sore throat, and headache with a severe blistering, peeling, and red skin rash.

Keep taking loperamide and talk to your doctor if you have any of these less serious side effects:

  • dizziness;

  • drowsiness, tired feeling;

  • constipation;

  • mild stomach pain; or

  • mild skin rash or itching.

Side effects other than those listed here may also occur. Talk to your doctor about any side effect that seems unusual or that is especially bothersome.

What other drugs will affect loperamide?

Before taking loperamide, tell your doctor if you are also taking saquinavir (Invirase). You may not be able to use loperamide, or you may need dosage adjustments or special tests during treatment.

There may be other drugs that can affect lopearmide. Tell your doctor about all the prescription and over-the-counter medications you use. This includes vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start using a new medication without telling your doctor.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your pharmacist has information about loperamide written for health professionals that you may read.

What does my medication look like?

Loperamide is available with a prescription and over-the-counter under several brand and generic names. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about this medication, especially if it is new to you.

  • Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
  • Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.
Copyright 1996-2006 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 2.07. Revision Date: 1/12/07 10:21:05 AM.

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