Updated 11 February 2013


Loperamide reduces gastrointestinal motility - the ability of the digestive tract to propel its contents.


Loperamide is the active ingredient of Adco-Loperamide, Betaperamide, Cipla Loperamide, Gastron, Imodium, Lopedium, Loperastat, Norimode and Prodium.

General information

Loperamide reduces gastrointestinal motility - the ability of the digestive tract to propel its contents. It is commonly used for the short-term management of mild to moderate diarrhoea. It should be used in combination with - and not as a substitute to - oral rehydration solutions to ensure adequate fluid and electrolyte intake.

If used to treat acute diarrhoea, loperamide treatment should be continued for 24-36 hours before it can be deemed ineffective. If this is the case and diarrhoea persists or worsens, the medication should be stopped and a doctor should be consulted.

How does loperamide work?

This medication increases the transit time of intestinal contents. This prolonged transit time leads to an increased absorption of fluid throughout the intestinal tract, thereby relieving diarrhoea.

Fast facts

Drug schedule: schedule 2

Available as: loperamide is available as tablets, syrup, capsules and dispersible tablets

What does it do? loperamide has an anti-diarrhoeal effect

Overdose risk: medium

Dependence risk: low

Is loperamide available as a generic? yes

Is loperamide available on prescription only? no

User information

Onset of effect: within 2 hours

Duration of action: up to 8 hours

Dietary advice: ensure adequate fluid and salt intake

Stopping this medicine: this medication can be safely stopped when no longer needed

Prolonged use: this medication is not intended for long-term use unless specifically prescribed by a doctor; no problems are expected

Special precautions

Consult your doctor before using this drug if:

  • you have inflammatory bowel disease
  • you are dehydrated
  • you have liver disease
  • you have obstructive bowel disorder or any other intestinal condition

Pregnancy: avoid. Potential risk to the foetus has been reported. Consult your doctor before use, or if you are planning to fall pregnant.

Breastfeeding: avoid. This medication is passed through breast milk and may affect your baby adversely. Consult your doctor before use.

Porphyria: this medication is safe use.

Infants and children: this medication is not intended for use in children under the age of 4. A reduced dose is needed as side effects may be more common.

The elderly: no special precautions need to be taken.

Driving and hazardous work: this medication should be avoided as it may cause extreme sedation.

Alcohol: no special precautions need to be taken.

Possible side effects

Side effect


Consult your doctor



Only if severe

In all cases

dry mouth



dizziness/ drowsiness






nausea/ vomiting



skin rash/ itch









loss of appetite



abdominal pain




Drug interactions


reduced effect of loperamide


risk of loperamide toxicity

opioid drugs

risk of severe constipation

Disease interactions

Consult your doctor before using this drug if you have inflammatory bowel disease, are dehydrated, have liver disease or if you have obstructive bowel disorder or any other intestinal condition.

Overdose action

A small overdose is no cause for concern. In case of intentional large overdose, seek emergency medical attention.

Recommended dosage

Adults: 4mg at once, followed by 2mg after each loose

stool. Maximum dose: 16mg/24 hours.

Children over 2: 0.08-0.24mg/kg/day in 2-3 doses

This material is not intended to substitute medical advice, but is for informational purposes only. Please consult a physician for specific treatment and recommendations.


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