Antidiarrheals for Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Search Knowledgebase

Topic Contents

Antidiarrheals for Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Topic Overview

Antidiarrheal medicines, such as diphenoxylate (such as Lomotil) and loperamide (such as Imodium), slow intestinal movements. This allows stool to stay in the intestine longer, allowing more water to be absorbed, which makes the stool formed rather than watery when it is passed. Antidiarrheals can help with diarrhea in IBS.1

Diphenoxylate may cause dry skin, itching, dizziness, drowsiness, nausea, or vomiting. Psychological dependence may occur in high doses.

Loperamide may cause abdominal pain, dry mouth, nausea, vomiting, or dizziness. These side effects are usually minor and do not last long. This medicine may not help people who have alternating periods of diarrhea and constipation because it may make the constipation worse.

These medicines may be dangerous if they are used by people who have certain types of intestinal infections or who have inflammatory bowel disease. You should not use these medicines if you have a fever or blood in your stool.

See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)

References

Citations

  1. Brandt LJ, et al. (2002). Systematic review on the management of irritable bowel syndrome in North America. American Journal of Gastroenterology, 97(11, Suppl): S7–S26.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Jerome B. Simon, MD, FRCPC, FACP - Gastroenterology
Last Revised July 14, 2010

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.