Is loperamide safe to use long term for the treatment of chronic diarrhea in IBS patients?
Safety of Loperamide
Loperamide (anti-diarrhoea medication such as Dioraleze or Imodium) is often the go-to treatment for diarrhoea. As the medication only acts on the digestive tract, there appears to be little risk associated with long-term or frequent use of Loperamide, and the medication is considered to be a relatively safe, well-tolerated option for dealing with diarrhoea.
There are precautions to be followed however, if you take them long term and/or suffer from inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
A prescription is required for
- a child under 12 years old
- a child aged 12 to 17 years old with IBS or long lasting diarrhoea
- an adult aged 18 years and older with long lasting diarrhoea
Do not take any more Loperamide and drink plenty of water if you become constipated. If you are told to take Loperamide long-term, wait for the constipation to go before taking more.
Do not take more than the recommended amount. Too much loperamide can cause serious heart problems (including a fast or irregular heartbeat).
You must never take Loperamide for more than 48 hours without seeking advice from your doctor or gastroenterologist.
Seek medical advice if you have blood in your poo and/or a temperature (more than 38°C).
People who suffer from IBD
You should not take Loperamide without permission from your doctor. The use of anti-diarrhea medications such as Imodium places IBD patients at risk for the development of toxic megacolon, a potentially life-threatening disorder.