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Diarrhea (cont.)

Diarrhea Medications

The use of anti-motility medications, although controversial, does provide relief from diarrhea. These drugs slow down the intestinal movement. These medications include loperamide (Imodium) and bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto-Bismol, Kaopectate, etc).

  • Such medications are not recommended for infants and children younger than 5 years of age.
  • In otherwise healthy adults who are not severely ill with diarrhea, loperamide is probably safe and is effective in decreasing the number of stools per day and the total duration of the diarrhea.
  • Bismuth subsalicylate is also useful and may be more effective than loperamide when vomiting accompanies the diarrhea.
  • Adults with other serious medical problems and those with severe diarrhea (high fever, abdominal pain, or bloody stool) should see a health care professional before using either medication.

Electrolyte solutions are available to prevent salt deficiency.

  • Oral electrolyte solutions are available at grocery and drug stores (Pedialyte, Rehydralyte, Naturalyte Solution).
  • Follow label directions, which may specify 1 teaspoonful every 15 minutes. If the child retains the initial doses, increase the dose to 1 tablespoonful every 15 minutes until the diarrhea stops.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/10/2014
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Diarrhea »

Acute diarrhea is defined as the abrupt onset of abnormally high fluid content in the stool (more than the normal value of approximately 10 mL/kg/d).

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