Diarrhea is usually a symptom of bacterial, viral or parasitic infection. Normally without medical intervention, it heals naturally. Nonetheless, medications known as antidiarrheals may be used for alleviating the symptoms of diarrhea.
Medications To Treat Diarrhea
Loperamide is usually recommended for controlling chronic diarrhea and occasionally for treating acute diarrhea. It works by delaying emptying of intestines, thereby increasing absorption of water from the fecal substances.
This anti-diarrheal drug is taken orally once or several times a day, as directed by the physician. They are usually available on prescription and are sometimes available over-the-counter.
Loperamide usually improves the symptoms of diarrhea within two to ten days. Dizziness, dry mouth, vomiting, constipation, stomach pain or discomfort, drowsiness and fatigue are possible side effects of the drug. Loperamide is not recommended for pregnant and breastfeeding women. This medication is usually not recommended for children below 12 years. People suffering from ulcerative colitis, liver problems, gastrointestinal problems, dysentery and AIDS should use loperamide only under medical supervision.
Bismuth subsalicylate is an antidiarrheal agent that works by reducing flow of fluids in the feces. Moreover, it may kill organisms associated with diarrhea and reduce inflammation of the internal lining of the intestine. Bismuth subsalicylate is taken with or without food. It is not recommended for children below 12 years. If the symptoms of diarrhea do not improve within 48 hours after taking the drug, stop the medication and immediately seek medical help.
If you are allergic to salicylate-based drugs, your doctor may not prescribe bismuth subsalicylate for treating diarrhea. People on tetracycline antibiotics should not take these drugs with bismuth subsalicylate. Ringing sound in the ears is a common side effect of this antidiarrheal drug.
Products containing the bacteria Lactobacillus acidophilus help to treat diarrhea. Lactobacillus acidophilus helps to eliminate diarrhea-causing bacteria from the digestive tract. It also improves the health of the immune system of the gastrointestinal tract. Lactobacillus acidophilus can effectively treat diarrhea caused by bacteria as well as viruses such as rotavirus.
Saccharomyces boulardii is a type of yeast used for treating diarrhea caused by overgrowth of harmful bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract and rotaviral diarrhea in children.
It is a probiotic organism that strengthens the colonies of beneficial microorganisms in the gut, thereby eliminating the harmful organisms associated with diarrhea. Saccharomyces boulardii is also effective in treating diarrhea caused because of antibiotic intake.
By slowing down contraction of the intestine and prolonging the transit time of the intestinal contents, diphenoxylate helps to consolidate the intestinal content. This antidiarrheal drug may be taken alone or in combination with atropine. Diphenoxylate should not be given to children less than two years of age. Diphenoxylate or diphenoxylate and atropine combination is taken orally, usually up to four times a day. Loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, headache, mood change and dryness of the mouth, skin and nose are possible side effects of the drug.
Alosetron belongs to a class of drugs called serotonin antagonists. It is primarily used for treating diarrhea in women suffering from irritable bowel syndrome.
It works by slowing down movement of intestinal content through the large intestine, thereby enabling the intestine to absorb moisture from the fecal matter. Hemorrhoids and stomach upset are common side effects of the drug. Ischemic colitis, although a rare, is a serious side effect of the drug.
Octreotide is used for treating severe watery diarrhea. It is usually recommended for treating chemotherapy induced diarrhea. Abdominal pain, constipation, dizziness, depression, dry mouth, nausea, vomiting and irregular heartbeat are common side effects of the drug.
Rifaximin is usually recommended for treating traveler’s diarrhea. This antibiotic drug works by suppressing growth of bacteria. However, it cannot treat bloody diarrhea and diarrhea that occurs with fever. Rifaximin is not recommended for children below 12 years of age.
Available in the form of tablet, rifaximin is usually taken thrice daily for three days or as directed by the physician. Stomach pain, nausea, dizziness, headache, joint pain and weakness are possible side effects of the drug.
Photo credit : http://www.umm.edu/imagepages/19659.htm