Loperamide Side Effects: Does Imodium Cause Constipation?

Last Updated: December 18, 2019

Authored by Olivier George, Ph.D.

Loperamide side effects can become a serious obstacle during treatment. Imodium pills are an effective remedy for sudden diarrhea, and most people generally tolerate the drug well. However, in some cases, Imodium side effects can get quite severe and require immediate medical assistance.

Short-Term Side Effects Of Loperamide

The majority of Imodium side effects don’t last long when the drug is taken properly. If the patients clearly understand what Imodium is and whether it is suitable for them, they are more likely to experience fewer side effects of the medication.

Does Imodium Cause Constipation?

Constipation is the most common Imodium side effect. Loperamide works on opioid receptors in the gut, and like the vast majority of other opioids, it can cause constipation. Normally, this side effect goes away on its own quickly. However, if it persists, a patient should talk to their doctor to adjust the course of treatment.

Does Imodium Cause Gas?

Occasionally, loperamide can cause gas and uncomfortable bloating. For that reason, it is often prescribed together with Simethicone. Simethicone works specifically to get rid of excess gas in the intestines and relieve pain due to gas.

Does Imodium Cause Sleepiness?

Loperamide is known to cause dizziness and fatigue. People tend to feel sleepy and tired after taking the drug. Although this loperamide side effect is reportedly insignificant and does not last long, individuals who take Imodium should be cautious when driving or operating machinery.

imodium side effects: headache

Other Loperamide Short-Term Side Effect

Other common side effects may include:

  • headache
  • decreased alertness
  • moderate itching

Severe Short-Term Side Effect of Loperamide

While common symptoms go away quickly, it is crucial to interrupt the treatment immediately if a person notices any severe effects. Such an individual should seek medical help right away and refrain from taking Imodium without receiving professional consultation in the future.

Severe side effects include:

  • inability to empty bladder
  • fainting
  • swelling on the face, tongue, or throat
  • significant hives
  • erythema multiforme
  • allergic skin inflammation
  • difficulty breathing
  • rashes
  • other severe allergic reactions

Imodium Long-Term Side Effects

The majority of the negative symptoms of Imodium fade quickly, although some loperamide side effects may have a long-term nature. Generally, any of the side effects can linger. In this case, a person should consult with their doctor and cease the treatment or adjust the dosage. When side effects fail to resolve over time, it can be an indication of a bigger problem.

Prolonged exposure may lead to the development of an addiction and cause an overdose, especially if Imodium A-D is used for opiate withdrawal. Despite overdose as such can occur after first-time use of the medication, the side effects of Imodium overdose are still severe and can pose dangers to one’s health. Large amounts of loperamide in the system tend to result in such side effects as:

  • heart irregularities
  • ventricular arrhythmia
  • severe stomach pain
  • respiratory depression
  • urinary retention
  • bowel obstructions
  • prolonged QT interval
  • cardiac arrest
  • irregular and fast heartbeat
  • toxic epidermal necrolysis

Avoiding And Reducing Loperamide Side Effects

Watch A Dosage

preventing loperamide side effectsThe majority of Imodium A-D side effects result from incorrect dosage. Therefore, reducing Imodium dose can help eliminate most short-term adverse symptoms. Long-term side effects can be prevented by instilling control over the length of treatment. In rare cases of severe intolerance, an individual will have to switch to a different drug. For instance, in Imodium vs Pepto-Bismol comparison, Pepto-Bismol wins by having more applications, and it can be used to help with nausea and heartburn as well as with diarrhea.

Consult With A Doctor When Give Imodium To Kids

Parents should be cautious when giving loperamide to their children. For example, Imodium is not suitable for kids under 6 years old unless it was specifically prescribed by their doctor. In addition, the use of Imodium for toddlers under 2 years of age is prohibited.

Be Aware Of Loperamide Interactions

People who take other drugs should check possible interactions with loperamide. It should not be used if a person has an allergic reaction to it, experiences diarrhea after antibiotic treatment, suffers through constipation or swollen stomach, or has liver problems. Imodium should not be used in case of black stool. In addition, it is not advisable to mix Imodium and alcohol.

When To Seek Help

The majority of loperamide HCI side effects are not long-lasting and can be avoided by regulating the dosage of the drug. Common symptoms include constipation, dizziness, fatigue, dry mouth, and mild abdominal pain. Sometimes the drug can cause nausea and vomiting. The use of Imodium for conditions like stomach flu should, therefore, be carefully controlled to prevent the possible side effects from worsening the patient’s condition. Using Imodium while breastfeeding needs to follow a doctor’s recommendations. In some cases, the symptoms can be severe and potentially life-threatening. The most dangerous Imodium side effects are increased blood pressure and various heart problems. In this case, it is advisable to get a consultation in the professional drug facilities and undergo treatment if needed.

Page Sources

  1. https://www.fda.gov/media/98335/download

Published on: May 6th, 2019

Updated on: December 18th, 2019

About Author

Olivier George, Ph.D.

Olivier George is a medical writer and head manager of the rehab center in California. He spends a lot of time in collecting and analyzing the traditional approaches for substance abuse treatment and assessing their efficiency.


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