The Best Over-the-Counter Anti Diarrhea Medication?
Are you dealing with a case of diarrhea? Naturally, you want relief as fast as you can find it. Most minor cases of diarrhea can be treated with over-the-counter medications. However, not all over-the-counter medications are the same. There are different options, and not all of them are necessarily right for you.
In this short guide, you’re going to learn about the different diarrhea medications you can pick up from a pharmacy without a prescription. After that, you’ll get some details about each one that may help you make a better decision.
What kinds of diarrhea medications are available over-the-counter?
There are many brand-name and generic drugs available to treat diarrhea. Most of them are created from one of two combined medications: Loperamide HCL and Bismuth Subsalicylate.
Both of these medications have a long history and are generally considered to be safe by medical experts. There are, however, reasons that you should consider choosing one over the other in certain cases.
Let’s examine the options in more detail. First, we’ll look at one of the most common medications available—Loperamide.
What do I need to know about Loperamide HCL?
Loperamide hydrochloride (HCL) is an antidiarrheal that may give you relief from mild to moderate diarrhea symptoms. When it works correctly, it slows down the gut and increases the time that passes between bowel movements.
Where can I find it?
You will be able to find this medication at most pharmacies. It is sold under the brand name Imodium but is available in many other forms. Generic versions can be found at most pharmacies and for lower prices online.
Loperamide may be controlled for sale in some locations. The FDA places some limits on how many doses can be contained in one package. It can be abused and may be dangerous when taken in high doses. For that reason, Loperamide may be kept behind counters and only made available on request.
You may be able to get a prescription for Loperamide if it’s effective for you. Prescription packages may be available with higher doses.
How is it taken?
Loperamide HCL is typically taken as a tablet, a capsule, or suspended in a solution.
Most medications will instruct you to take loperamide after each loose bowel movement up to a certain number of times per day. Always check the label to determine what dose to take and how often you should take it.
Who should not take loperamide HCL?
Loperamide should not be taken by children who are younger than two years of age. Older children and teenagers should also not be given loperamide unless it has been recommended by a physician.
You should also speak to a doctor before starting loperamide if you have any of the following pre-existing conditions:
- Mucus in your stools
- Liver disease
- Heart rhythm disorders
Loperamide HCL is known to have interactions with more than 300 other over-the-counter and prescription medications, including Aspirin, Benadryl, and Lipitor. You should speak to a doctor before taking loperamide if you are taking other medications.
You should stop taking loperamide HCL if you experience any of these uncommon side effects:
- Watery or bloody stool
- Stomach pain
- Worsening diarrhea
- Fast or pounding heartbeats
- shortness of breath
- sudden dizziness and feelings of losing consciousness
What do I need to know about Bismuth Subsalicylate?
Bismuth Subsalicylate is an antidiarrheal that also typically has other effects. It decreases the flow of fluids and nutrients into the body. In addition to relieving symptoms of diarrhea, it can also reduce symptoms of nausea, heartburn, and upset stomach.
Where can I find it?
You will be able to find this medication at most pharmacies. It is sold under several brand names, including Pepto Bismol and Bismatrol. It may also be available under generic names.
How is it taken?
This medication is available in several forms. It is most commonly found in a liquid form, but it may also be found in liquid capsules and dry oral tablets. It does not have a high chance of abuse, so it is not controlled in most pharmacies. You’ll be able to find it on the shelf.
Who should not take Bismuth Subsalicylate?
Bismuth Subsalicylate should not be used by pregnant women who are in the 3rd trimester.
This medication should not be taken by children who are younger than 12 years of age without a doctor’s recommendation.
Children may be especially sensitive to the effects of the salicylates that are present. They may experience more severe side effects if they are given this medication, including extreme constipation.
You should also speak to a doctor before using this medication if you are elderly. Like children, the elderly are more sensitive to the effects of salicylates in medication. The sensitivity may result in a higher likelihood of severe side effects.
This medication has several known interactions with other prescription medications. It has severe interactions with dichlorphenamide—a drug that is used to treat muscle disorders and paralysis. It is also known to have some serious interactions with all the following medications:
You should speak to your doctor before taking this medication if you have any doubts or any reason to believe that the medications you are taking may have harmful interactions.
Choose the Right Over-the-Counter Medication for Diarrhea
Now, you know more about the medications that are available over-the-counter. You also know more about the forms, availability, and risk factors of both options. Use what you’ve learned to make a better choice the next time you’re in the pharmacy.
If you have any questions, you should speak to your doctor or pharmacist before starting with any medication.
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