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What are the ingredients in kids' diarrhea treatments?

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Quick Answer

Children's diarrhea medicines, such as Imodium and Kaopectate 1-D, contain the drug loperamide. Loperamide works by slowing down movement of the intestinal system, which results in fewer loose bowel movements. These drugs are FDA-approved to treat diarrhea in children age 6 and over, according to WebMD. There are other anti-diarrhea drugs, such as regular Pepto-Bismol and Kaopectate, that contain bismuth subsalicylate and are for use in children 12 and older.

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Full Answer

It is best to consult a doctor before using any anti-diarrhea medicine, WebMD says. Since bismuth subsalicylate contains aspirin-like ingredients, children who have chicken pox or flu-like symptoms should not take it due to the risk of Reye's syndrome, a rare but serious disease that causes brain swelling and liver damage. Children's Pepto-Bismol is an alternative drug that they can take because it does not contain aspirin-like ingredients. Children's Pepto-Bismol settles the stomach but does not contain medicine to totally stop diarrhea.

Using anti-diarrhea medicines with caution is advisable since a bacterial infection of the intestines causes some gastrointestinal illnesses. These drugs may prevent the body from flushing out the bacteria and may make the diarrhea worse, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians. If the diarrhea is due to a bacterial infection, antibiotics are necessary. A child with a fever or bloody stools should not use any of these medications and should consult a doctor.

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