Without a doubt, Imodium is the most popular brand used as diarrhoea relief medication. Today’s post focuses on Imodium alternative drugs for the relief of diarrhoea.
Causes of diarrhoea
Diarrhoea is a common condition, which can affect children and adults of any age. A ‘stomach bug’ often causes acute diarrhoea, but an underlying condition and drugs can also cause it. Common drugs that can cause an acute episode of diarrhoea include:
- Antacids (especially magnesium-containing)
- Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs) such as omeprazole or esomeprazole
- Orlistat (weigh loss medication)
- Metformin (anti-diabetic drug)
A virus, bacteria or parasites can cause acute episodes of diarrhoea.
People coming back from high-risk countries who experience symptoms of diarrhoea, together with other symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, fever, and bloody stools may be experiencing symptoms of travellers’ diarrhoea which can also be caused by the above organisms.
Diarrhoea when to see GP
In most cases, there is no need to see GP, however certain people may need to see their doctor, for example:
- People with prolonged symptoms of diarrhoea
- People with prolonged changes in bowel patterns, for example, frequent episodes of diarrhoea
- Diarrhoea accompanied by persistent vomiting
- Prolonged, severe pain of the stomach
- People who travelled abroad to high-risk countries located in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and South America and developed symptoms of diarrhoea
- Young children (infants) with symptoms of diarrhoea longer than one day
- Presence of the blood in the stools
- Black or dark stools, which may be a sign of bleeding from the stomach
Self-care management of an acute episode of diarrhoea
Diarrhoea usually goes on its own and lasts about 5-7 days in adults. It is essential to drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration. Other recommendations include rest, eating normally when possible, and if fever is present, use of paracetamol.
Children and adults over 12 years of age have an option to use diarrhoea relief drugs such as Imodium or equivalent drugs.
Imodium range includes:
- Imodium Original capsules
- Imodium IBS relief soft capsules
- Imodium Instants tablets : dissolve on the tongue, suitable ‘on the go’
- Imodium Plus Comfort tablets : a combination of loperamide and simeticone, which relieve from diarrhoea and helps with other symptoms such as bloating, wind and cramps.
Imodium alternative drugs
The main active ingredient of Imodium is loperamide hydrochloride. Each capsule or tablet contains 2mg of loperamide hydrochloride.
Loperamide can be purchased over the counter in most supermarkets, pharmacies and online. When purchased outside the pharmacy counter, loperamide is limited in size to 6 capsules or tablets per pack. Larger packs / multiple-packs of loperamide can be bought from a pharmacy or online chemists, including Amazon’s 3rd party sellers.
Generic loperamide 2mg capsules
Most supermarkets and pharmacies sell their own branded diarrhoea relief products, for example:
- Boots Diarrhoea Relief 2mg Capsule
- Tesco Diarrhoea Relief Capsules
- Morrisons Acute Diarrhoea Relief Capsules
- Diah-Limit (Coop Pharmacy)
- Lloyds Pharmacy Diarrhoea Relief Capsules
All of the above products contain 2mg of loperamide and are equivalent to Imodium Original capsules in terms of their active ingredient content. There are plenty of other ‘generic’ loperamide capsules (not listed here) stock by pharmacies and easily accessible to customers.
The main advantage over Imodium Original capsules is the price. Prices for generic loperamide capsules varies between supermarkets and pharmacies, but generally, a pack of 6 capsules cost from anywhere around £1 to just under £3.
Where to buy generic loperamide cheaply
Fortunately for customers, loperamide is available online with some great offers for multi-pack purchases. Below are some of the cheapest deals found on Amazon.co.uk for loperamide capsules.
Additionally, pharmacies may stock cheap generic loperamide at ‘the back’ of the pharmacy, in the dispensaries. Loperamide is usually dispensed in a pack of 30 capsules. Some generic brands of loperamide 2mg are licensed as P medicines, which means they can be sold to the public.
Not all pharmacies may agree to sell P stock, especially when other brands are offered on the display. A pack of 30 loperamide 2mg capsules including a mark-up cost is below £2 (Price July 20; source: AHH branch stock code list). Patients who wish to choose this option for buying cheap generic loperamide need to ask a member of a pharmacy team if they would sell ‘bigger’ pack of generic loperamide capsules from the dispensary.
Imodium IBS relief alternatives
Each Imodium IBS relief capsule contains 2mg of loperamide. Imodium IBS relief capsules are used in the treatment of acute episodes of diarrhoea (adults and children over 12 years of age) and additionally for the treatment of acute diarrhoea associated with Irritable Bowel Syndrome diagnosed by a doctor (for adults over 18 years of age).
All previously mentioned loperamide products would be a suitable alternative to Imodium IBS relief capsules in terms of their active ingredient content.
Imodium alternative: loperamide orodispersible
Imodium comes in the form of orodispersible tablets called Imodium Instants and Imodium Instants Melts. The only difference between both products is the pack size and availability for the purchase.
Imodium Instants are general sale item (GSL), available for self-selection by customers from supermarket or pharmacies with a limit of 6 tablets per pack. In contrast, Imodium Instant Melts are pharmacy-only medication available in larger size packs of 12 or 18 tablets.
Orodispersible tablets dissolve in the mouth when placed on the tongue without the need for liquid. As with previous products, Imodium Instants contain loperamide 2mg.
One generic version of orodispersible loperamide is available on Amazon.co.uk Although a limited number of reviews are present, it seems that this generic version of loperamide orodispersible tablets may not taste great.
The second alternative to Imodium Instants is available from Boots Pharmacy. Boots Diarrhoea Relief Instant-Melts can be purchased from Boots chemist on the high street, and online.
Alternative options for Imodium Plus
Imodium Plus Comfort tablets contain two active ingredients, namely loperamide and simeticone. Imodium Plus Comfort tablets are general-sale item available in a pack size of 6 tablets from supermarkets, pharmacies and online. In contrast, larger packs of Imodium Plus tablets are restricted to sale from pharmacies only.
There are no alternative products which contain the same two active ingredients; however, simeticone can be purchased as an individual product, which can be taken alongside loperamide capsules.
Two brands of simeticone gel capsules are commonly available in supermarkets, and online are WindSetlers and Wind-eze. Both products are used to help with wind, bloating, flatulence.
Imodium alternative: other options
Rehydration sachets for diarrhoea
Self-help management of an acute episode of diarrhoea involves drinking plenty of water or rehydration products, which contain electrolytes to improve rehydration and to replace electrolytes loss caused by diarrhoea.
Dioralyte is one of the most known brands of rehydration sachets. Diarolyte range comes in different flavours, all providing for the effective replacement of electrolytes to treat dehydration. Dioralyte can be used alongside loperamide.
Dioralyte Relief sachets contain pre-cooked rice, which helps watery stools return to normal.
ORS Hydration Tablets with Electrolytes are the best-selling product on Amazon.co.uk in a related category. Although not explicitly advertised as oral rehydration for symptoms of diarrhoea, ORS Hydration Tablets are perfectly suitable to provide electrolytes and improve hydration. Additionally, ORS Hydration Tablets are vegan, gluten and lactose-free.
Kaolin & Morphine Mixture for diarrhoea
Kaolin & Morphine Mixture is a pharmacy-only product has been used as ‘traditional’ remedy for the relief of diarrhoea. Kaolin is believed to help to remove ‘toxins’ which cause the diarrhoea. One of the most common side effects of morphine is constipation; therefore, this is a logical approach for the use of Kaolin & morphine mixture in the management of diarrhoea symptoms.
Pharmacies do not stock Kaolin & Morphine Mixture commonly. One will need to ask if the product is sold directly at the pharmacy counter. Some pharmacies sell Kaolin & Morphine Mixture online.
Patients have a good choice of Imodium alternative drugs. Loperamide, the generic version of Imodium is widely available online, from supermarkets and pharmacies.
It is vital to recognise any prolonged changes in bowel habits and see a GP accordingly.