Lomotil for Diarrhea: Indications and Contraindications

09 January, 2021
Lomotil helps reduce the number and frequency of bowel movements. Its action consists of decreasing the intestinal movements. Its active principle, loperamide, helps achieve the therapeutic objective.

Lomotil is the brand name of a medication that has an active ingredient, loperamide. It’s an oral medication used mainly to treat diarrhea. It helps to reduce the number and frequency of bowel movements, as occurs when a person has diarrhea. Its action, although we’ll explain in more detail later, consists of decreasing the intestinal movement. Find out all about Lomotil and diarrhea in this article.

However, it shouldn’t be used to treat diarrhea caused by different types of infections, such as that triggered by Clostridium difficile.

In addition, doctors don’t recommend giving this medication to children under 6 years of age due to an increased risk of serious side effects which we’ll mention in this article so let’s make a start!

Why do we get diarrhea?

Diarrhea is the frequent passage of soft or loose stools. It’s a condition that doesn’t usually last long and usually improves on its own. Normally, it’s due to an intestinal infection, the most common pathogens being viruses and bacteria.

However, it can also be the result of a diet high in sugars, a food allergy, lactose intolerance and intestinal problems such as celiac disease or inflammatory bowel disease.

A person suffering from diarrhea may experience stomach pain or cramps, followed by diarrhea that usually lasts 3 to 5 days. In addition, it’s also common to trigger some of the following symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Dehydration
A woman on the toilet.
Lomotil is a drug to treat episodes of diarrhea. It helps reduce the number and frequency of bowel movements.

How does Lomotil exert its effect on the body?

As we already know, Lomotil helps reduce the number and frequency of bowel movements. So its action consists of decreasing intestinal movement. Lomotil has an active principle, loperamide, which helps achieves the therapeutic objective.

By decreasing the number of bowel movements, we can restore the speed of digestion. In other words, this allows the body to correctly absorb liquids, which in turn restores the consistency of the feces.

Lomotil acts effectively to control diarrhea from the first symptoms. Loperamide interferes with peristalsis, through a direct action on the circular and intestinal muscles, reducing their motility.

It also acts by reducing fluid and electrolyte secretion and increasing water absorption. So, by increasing transit time and reducing fluid loss, loperamide manages to increase stool consistency and reduce fecal volume.

And, although loperamide is chemically related to opioid drugs, this active ingredient doesn’t have analgesic effects even at high doses. However, children under the age of three may be more sensitive to these effects.

Discover: What Are Stool Cultures?

Contraindications of Lomotil

Lomotil and therefore loperamide, as well as other drugs with the same effects, can induce the development of toxic conditions in the colon in patients with ulcerative colitis.

Therefore, these patients should be especially on the lookout for symptoms of toxicity. Furthermore, doctors contraindicate this drug when diarrhea is a consequence of pseudomembranous colitis, as well as in diarrhea caused by enteric microorganisms.

On the other hand, doctors should also carefully monitor patients with liver disease, as loperamide levels may increase, since it’s metabolized in the liver.

Lastly, it’s important to mention that scientists still don’t know if this active ingredient is excreted in breast milk. For this reason, new mothers should be careful during breastfeeding.

A doctor with a prescription.
Doctors contraindicate Lomotil in patients with ulcerative colitis; furthermore, it should be avoided if diarrhea is a consequence of pseudomembranous colitis or infections by enteric microorganisms.

Adverse reactions

Treatment with Lomotil can cause a number of adverse reactions, as with treatment with any medication. We understand adverse effects as all those undesirable and unintended events that occur with treatment with a drug.

In this sense, loperamide can cause:

  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Dry mouth
  • Blurred vision
  • Loss of appetite

In addition to those mentioned, this medicine can also trigger other more serious secondary reactions, such as

  • Mood swings
  • Stomach pain and inflammation
  • Numbness or tingling in the arms or legs

You may also like: 3 Carrot Remedies to Treat Diarrhea

Conclusion

Lomotil is a medicine that contains loperamide as an active ingredient. In other words, it’s used to treat diarrhea since it can reduce the number of bowel movements and increase their consistency.

In conclusion, ask your doctor if you have any doubts about treatment with this medicine, as well as any discomfort that may arise after taking it.

  • Lomotil. (1969). Medical Letter on Drugs and Therapeutics.
  • Forrester, R. M. (1973). Lomotil Intoxication in Children. British Medical Journal. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.3.5878.501
  • Barreiro de Acosta, M., & Domnguez Muoz, J. E. (2004). Tratamiento de la diarrea. Medicine – Programa de Formación Médica Continuada Acreditado. https://doi.org/10.1016/s0211-3449(04)70013-2
  • Centro colaborador de La Administración Nacional de Medicamentos, alimentos y Tecnología Médica. Loperamina en Vacemecum. https://www.iqb.es/cbasicas/farma/farma04/l027.htm