Loperamide: a review of its pharmacological properties and therapeutic efficacy in diarrhoea

R C HeelG S Avery


Loperamide, a butyramide derivative is a new agent for use in symptomatic control of acute non-specific diarrhoea and chronic diarrhoea. Unlike diphenoxylate or codeine, loperamide does not appear to exert opiate activity in man at normal therapeutic doses. In acute diarrhoea, loperamide provides more rapid control of symptoms than diphenoxylate when given in a flexible dosage according to unformed bowel movements, and in single dose studies 4mg loperamide has a much longer duration of effect than 5mg diphenoxylate. Loperamide is probably superior to diphenoxylate in providing symptomatic control of chronic diarrhoea such as that associated with chronic inflammatory bowel disease or following gastrointestinal surgery. It has been used for up to 3 years in such conditions without evidence of tolerance. The possibility of once daily dosage of loperamide in chronic diarrhoea is an advantage. Side-effects have not proved a problem.


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