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What is loperamide?

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Quick Answer

Loperamide is a medicine that slows down the digestive process, allowing the small intestines to absorb more nutrients from food, according to Drugs.com. The drug treats diarrhea, and it is used to lower the amount of fecal matter in patients who undergo a ileostomy.

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Full Answer

Loperamide also addresses those who have inflammatory bowel disease and gastroenteritis, notes Wikipedia. It treats different forms of diarrhea, such as irritable bowel syndrome or traveler's diarrhea, but it should not be prescribed for those who experience bloody diarrhea. It also treats diarrhea that is caused by chemotherapy. Loperamide is used in a recreational capacity when mixed with p-glycoprotein inhibitors.

The drug treats diarrhea by producing nonwatery stool, reports MedicineNet.com. However, loperamide treats the symptoms associated with diarrhea and not the root cause of the problem.

Loperamide quells the severity of diarrhea by forcing the intestines to extract more water from the feces, claims Wikipedia. The opioid suppresses the gastrocolic reflex, which comprises a number of reflexes that control the inner workings of the gastrointestinal tract.

Loperamide can come in liquid, tablet or capsule form, explains MedlinePlus. It is available with or without a prescription, and it is normally taken after the stool has passed. The symptoms usually go away within two days and 10 days for people who have chronic diarrhea.

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