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Diarrhea & How To Manage It

Over The Counter And Prescription Medications To Treat Diarrhea

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There are over the counter medications such as Immodium that help treat diarrhea. 

Follow the instructions on the container. However, if the diarrhea is more like a watery liquid (not just loose bowels), experienced patient advocates have found that Immodium can be more effective if taken every two hours for 12 hours straight. It doesn't matter if the condition continues - one episode of watery diarrhea is enough to trigger the suggestion. DO NOT take this suggestion without checking with your health care team first.

You will know rather quickly whether the Immodium stops your diarrhea. If not, call your doctor iimmediately. 

  • In severe cases, your doctor may prescribe an anti-diarrheal medicine such as Sandostatin®, a long acting injection, or over-the-counter Loperamide offsite link
  • If the prescription is for a drug that requires the pharmacy to reveive a written prescription before providing the drug, some pharmacies will provide a temporary supply that can hold you until the actual prescription arrives at the pharmacy. 
  • If you get a prescription for "just in case" - keep in mind that prescriptions expire after a period of time and you will have to get a new prescription before the pharmacy will fill it.

NOTE: As a practical matter, it is usually advisable to start treating diarrhea with a medication such as Immodium rather than a stronger medication. Stronger medications can lead to constipation, which then has to be treated. Constipation and diarrhea can become a back and forth seesaw making you very uncomfortable in the process. (For information about dealing with constipation, click here.)

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