Loperamide Side Effects
Loperamide is the generic name of Imodium, the over-the-counter anti-diarrhea medication. Loperamide is sold under other brand names as well and is also available in a prescription form. Along with generally treating diarrhea, loperamide is used to help manage specific conditions like gastroenteritis, short bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease. Loperamide is classified as an opioid, which is how it’s able to slow the movement of the intestines and reduce bowel movements. Loperamide slows intestinal contractions but, unlike other opioids, it does not normally cross the blood-brain barrier. That’s why a therapeutic, recommended dose does not cause the same effects as opioids. When it’s used as instructed, loperamide can cause common side effects that include:
- Abdominal cramps
More severe effects can include paralytic ileus, allergic reactions, Stevens-Johnson syndrome and urinary retention. For the most part, when loperamide is taken as instructed, the drug is considered to be a very safe medication. A normal dose of loperamide taken to treat acute diarrhea and gastrointestinal issues is usually around 8 to 16 mg per 24-hour period. Someone with liver failure should use loperamide cautiously since the drug is metabolized in the liver.
Loperamide isn’t intended as a long-term medication. Instead, loperamide is meant as a short-term treatment for acute cases of diarrhea. With a therapeutic dose, loperamide long-term side effects could include constipation. However, if someone does have constipation from loperamide, it likely means they’re taking too much.
There are additional long-term side effects associated with loperamide abuse. The drug interacts with opioid receptors; however, it can’t cross the blood-brain barrier when taken in a recommended dose. So, when the drug is taken as directed, there’s no risk of euphoria or other similar effects. However, people have discovered that if they take extraordinarily high doses of loperamide, it can act as an opioid and provide similar effects. In very high doses, it is possible for loperamide to cross the blood-brain barrier. Some people may take as much as 200 mg a day in order to achieve opioid-like effects or to avoid opioid withdrawal. In these situations, loperamide long-term side effects can include heart irregularities, urine retention and bowel obstruction. Loperamide abuse can also cause central nervous system and respiratory depression.
Along with long-term loperamide abuse side effects, there are risks in the short-term as well. If someone abuses loperamide by taking very high doses to get an opioid-like effect, they can have more immediate side effects like bloating, loss of appetite, severe stomach pain, nausea and vomiting. High doses of loperamide have been linked to sudden heart problems that can result in death as well.
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“Loperamide hydrochloride 2 mg” is just another name for loperamide. Loperamide hydrochloride 2 mg side effects are the same as any other normal dosage of the medication. A person could take as much as 8 mg to 16 mg of loperamide hydrochloride in a 24-hour period. One potential risk to be aware of is dehydration. Dehydration can occur when someone has diarrhea, so they should make sure that they drink plenty of fluids and electrolytes. When someone follows either the dosage instructions on the medication or the advice of their physician, loperamide hydrochloride side effects should be minimal.