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Antidiarrheal Medicines for Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Topic Overview

If you have mild inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease) and diarrhea is your main symptom, you may be able to treat it with an antidiarrheal medicine.

Take antidiarrheals only under your doctor's supervision. Stop taking them if you have a fever or severe belly pain. If you have been taking antidiarrheals for 10 days and still have diarrhea, check with your doctor.

Some of these medicines, such as loperamide (Imodium, for example), are available without a prescription. Others, such as diphenoxylate (Lomotil, for example), are available only with a prescription.

These medicines contain ingredients that slow or stop the painful spasms in your intestines that cause symptoms. They can be dangerous if you use them when you have moderate or severe inflammation of the colon, because they can cause a serious complication called toxic megacolon in which the colon swells to many times its normal size.

Related Information

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Arvydas D. Vanagunas, MD - Gastroenterology
Last Revised October 8, 2012

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