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Antidiarrheal Medicine

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KEY POINTS

  • Antidiarrheal medicine helps stop frequent loose bowel movements, called diarrhea.
  • You should not use antidiarrheal medicines in children unless recommended by your child’s healthcare provider.
  • Make sure you know how and when your child needs to take the medicine. Your child should not take more or less than he or she is supposed to take.
  • Ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist what side effects the medicine may cause, and what you should do if your child has side effects.

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What is antidiarrheal medicine used for?

Antidiarrheal medicine helps stop frequent loose bowel movements, called diarrhea. It’s common for most children to have diarrhea once in a while. Common causes include infections caused by bacteria or a virus, some foods, and stress. Diarrhea is one way that your child’s body gets rid of an infection. You should not use antidiarrheal medicines in young children unless recommended by your child’s healthcare provider.

How does the medicine work?

There are 3 main types of antidiarrheal medicine:

  • Stool thickeners that also help remove bacteria and other causes of diarrhea from the bowel
  • Antispasmodic medicines that slow food down as it moves through the bowel. This gives the body more time to absorb water from food, which makes the stool firmer. Your child will also have fewer stools.
  • Bulking agents that thicken the stool with fibers made from plant seeds

Many antidiarrheal medicines contain both a stool thickener and an antispasmodic medicine.

What else do I need to know about this medicine?

  • Try to get all of your child’s prescriptions filled at the same place. Your pharmacist can help make sure that all of your child’s medicines are safe to take together.
  • Many medicines have side effects. A side effect is a symptom or problem that is caused by the medicine. Ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist what side effects the medicine may cause, and what you should do if your child has side effects.
  • Follow the directions that come with your child’s medicine. Make sure you know how and when your child needs to take the medicine. Your child should not take more or less than he or she is supposed to take.
  • Keep a list of your child’s medicines with you. List all of the prescription medicines, nonprescription medicines, supplements, natural remedies, and vitamins that your child takes. Tell all healthcare providers who treat your child about all of the products your child takes.

If you have any questions, ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist for more information. Keep all appointments for provider visits or tests.

Developed by RelayHealth.
Pediatric Advisor 2016.4 published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2015-02-23
Last reviewed: 2015-02-20
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
Copyright © 2016 RelayHealth, a division of McKesson Technologies Inc. All rights reserved.
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