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What is Loperamide hydrochloride?

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Quick Answer

Loperamide hydrochloride is an antidiarrheal drug that works by slowing the transit of bowel contents, states Drugs.com. It is available over the counter in 2 mg tablets or capsules under the brand name,Immodium. It's also available in generic formulations.

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Full Answer

Loperamide is used to treat diarrhea due to gastroenteritis, inflammatory bowl disease, bowel resection and irritable bowel syndrome, notes Wikipedia. It is also indicated for the treatment of mild traveler's diarrhea and off label for the treatment of chemotherapy-induced diarrhea.

Loperamide shouldn't be used if the stool is bloody or if there's a high fever present. It shouldn't be given in cases of food poisoning caused by E. coli O157:H7 or salmonella nor in cases of antibiotic-related diarrhea, as it increases the risk of toxins staying in the colon leading to toxic megacolon, says Wikipedia. Toxic megacolon occurs when inflammatory processes cause the colon to expand, which makes it unable to move gas and fecal matter from the body, says Healthline.com. As waste builds up, the colon can rupture. It is a life-threatening condition.

The drug shouldn't be used in children under 2, and used with caution in children between the ages of 2 and 6, according to WebMD. Dosage is based on weight when possible and should not exceed 8 mg for adults who are self-treating or 16 mg under the advice of a doctor.

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