Loperamide is a medication that is used for the relief of acute diarrhea and the management of chronic diarrhea in patients with inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis). The effectiveness of loperamide is comparable to another anti-diarrheal, diphenoxylate (Lomotil). Loperamide reduces diarrhea by slowing the forward propulsion of intestinal contents by the intestinal muscles. Although loperamide is related chemically to narcotics such as morphine, it does not have any of the narcotics pain- relieving effects even at high doses. Loperamide was approved by the FDA in 1976. In adults and children 12 years of age and older, the usual dose is 4 mg (2 capsules) as a first dose, followed by 2 mg (1 capsule) after each unformed stool. The maximum dose is 16 mg/day. The dose for children is: age 9 to 11 years, 2 mg three times the first day; age 6 to 8 years, 2 mg twice the first day; age 2 to 5 years, 1 mg times three times the first day. After the first day, children less than 12 years of age usually receive a dose of 0.1 mg/kg after an unformed stool. Caution grossly exceeding recommended dose may cause serious heart problems.
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