- loperamide hydrochloride
POM: Prescription only medicine
This information is intended for use by health professionals
Loperamide Hydrochloride 2mg Capsules
Each capsule contains Loperamide Hydrochloride 2mg.
Excipient with known effect: Each capsule contains 127mg of lactose.
For the full list of excipients, see section 6.1.
Capsule, hard (capsule)
Grey-dark green coloured hard gelatine size 3 capsules, filled with a homogeneous white to off white powder.
The symptomatic treatment of acute diarrhoea of any aetiology, including acute exacerbations of chronic diarrhoea, for periods of up to 5 days in adults and children over 9 years.
The symptomatic treatment of chronic diarrhoea in adults.
Adults and Children (9 – 17) years:
The initial dose is two capsules (4mg) for adults and one capsule (2mg) for children, followed by one capsule (2mg) after every subsequent loose stool for up to five days.
The maximum daily dose should not exceed six capsules (12mg).
The initial dosage is two capsules (4mg) daily. This initial dose should be adjusted until one to two solid stools per day are obtained, which is usually achieved with a maintenance dose of one to six capsules (2 mg-12 mg) daily.
The maximum daily dose should not exceed six capsules (12 mg) daily.
Loperamide is contraindicated in children less than 9 years of age.
No dose adjustment is required for the elderly.
Patients with renal impairment
No dose adjustment is required for patients with renal impairment.
Patients with hepatic impairment
Although no pharmacokinetic data are available in patients with hepatic impairment, loperamide HCl should be used with caution in such patients because of reduced first pass metabolism. (See section 4.4 Special warnings and precautions for use).
Method of administration
For oral administration.
The capsules should be taken with liquid.
The medicine is contraindicated:
• Patients with a known hypersensitivity to the active substance or to any of the excipients listed in section 6.1
• In children under 9 years of age.
• When inhibition of peristalsis is to be avoided due to the possible risk of significant sequelae including ileus, megacolon and toxic megacolon, in particular:
o when ileus, constipation or abdominal distension develop,
o in patients with acute ulcerative colitis,
o in patients with bacterial enterocolitis caused by invasive organisms including Salmonella, Shigella, and Campylobacter,
o in patients with pseudomembranous colitis associated with the use of broad-spectrum antibiotics.
Loperamide should not be used alone in acute dysentery, which is characterised by blood in stools and elevated body temperatures.
In patients with diarrhoea, especially young children, fluid and electrolyte depletion may occur. Use of loperamide does not preclude the administration of appropriate fluid and electrolyte replacement therapy.
Treatment of diarrhoea with loperamide is only symptomatic.
Since persistent diarrhoea can be an indicator of potentially more serious conditions, loperamide should not be used for prolonged periods of time and the underlying cause of the diarrhoea should be investigated if clinical improvement is not observed within 48 hours of initiating treatment. Whenever an underlying etiology can be determined, specific treatment should be given when appropriate.
Although no pharmacokinetic data are available in patients with hepatic impairment, loperamide must be used with caution in these patients because of reduced first-pass metabolism (e.g. in cases of severe hepatic disturbance), as this might result in a relative overdose leading to CNS toxicity.
Loperamide must be discontinued promptly when constipation, abdominal distension or ileus develop.
Patients with AIDS treated with loperamide for diarrhoea should have therapy stopped at the earliest signs of abdominal distension. There have been isolated reports of toxic megacolon in AIDS patients with infectious colitis from both viral and bacterial pathogens treated with loperamide hydrochloride.
Cardiac events including QT interval and QRS complex prolongation, torsades de pointes have been reported in association with overdose. Some cases had a fatal outcome (see section 4.9). Overdose can unmask existing Brugada syndrome. Patients should not exceed the recommended dose and/or the recommended duration of treatment.
Patients with rare hereditary problems of galactose intolerance, total lactase deficiency or glucose-galactose malabsorption should not take this medicine.
Caution is needed in patients with a history of drug abuse. Loperamide is an opioid and addiction is observed with opioids as a class.
Non-clinical, and clinical data have shown that loperamide is a P-glycoprotein substrate. Concomitant administration of loperamide (16 mg single dose) with quinidine or ritonavir, which are P-glycoprotein inhibitors, resulted in a 2 to 3-fold increase in loperamide plasma levels. The clinical relevance of these pharmacokinetic interactions with P-glycoprotein inhibitors, when loperamide is given at recommended dosages (2 mg, up to 16 mg maximum daily dose), is unknown.
The concomitant administration of loperamide (4 mg single dose) and itraconazole, an inhibitor of CYP 3A4 and P-glycoprotein, resulted in a 3 to 4-fold increase in loperamide plasma concentrations. In the same study a CYP 2C8 inhibitor, gemfibrozil increased loperamide by approximately 2-fold. The combination of itraconazole and gemfibrozil resulted in a 4-fold increase in peak plasma levels of loperamide and a 13-fold increase in total plasma exposure. These increases were not associated with central nervous system (CNS) effects as measured by psychomotor tests (i.e., subjective drowsiness and the Digit Symbol Substitution Test).
The concomitant administration of loperamide (16 mg single dose) and ketoconazole, an inhibitor of CYP3A4 and P-glycoprotein, resulted in a 5-fold increase in loperamide plasma concentrations. This increase was not associated with increased pharmacodynamic effects as measured by pupillometry.
The concomitant administration of loperamide with oral desmopressin resulted in 3-fold increase of desmopressin plasma concentrations, presumably due to slower gastrointestinal motility.
It is expected that drugs with similar pharmacological properties may potentiate loperamide's effect and that drugs that accelerate gastrointestinal transit may decrease its effect.
Safety in human pregnancy has not been established, although studies in animals have not demonstrated any teratogenic or embryotoxic properties. As with other drugs, it is not advisable to administer loperamide in pregnancy, especially during the first trimester.
Small amounts of loperamide may appear in human milk. Therefore, loperamide is not recommended during breast-feeding.
Women who are breast feeding infants should therefore be advised to consult their doctor for appropriate treatment.
Loss of consciousness, depressed level of consciousness, tiredness, dizziness, or drowsiness may occur when diarrhoea is treated with loperamide. Therefore, it is advisable to use caution when driving a car or operating machinery. See section 4.8 Undersirable effects.
The safety of loperamide hydrochloride was evaluated in 3076 adults and children aged ≥12 years who participated in 31 controlled and uncontrolled clinical trials of loperamide hydrochloride used for the treatment of diarrhoea. Of these, 26 trials were in acute diarrhoea (N=2755) and 5 trials were in chronic diarrhoea (N=321).
The most commonly reported (i.e., ≥1% incidence) adverse drug reactions (ADRs) in clinical trials with loperamide hydrochloride in acute diarrhoea were: constipation (2.7%), flatulence (1.7%), headache (1.2%) and nausea (1.1%). In clinical trials in chronic diarrhoea, the most commonly reported (i.e., ≥1% incidence) adverse reactions were: flatulence (2.8%), constipation (2.2%), nausea (1.2%) and dizziness (1.2%).
Table 1 displays adverse reactions that have been reported with the use of loperamide hydrochloride from either clinical trials (in acute or chronic diarrhoea or both) or post-marketing experience.
The frequency categories use the following convention: very common (☐1/10); common (☐1/100 to <1/10); uncommon (☐1/1,000 to <1/100); rare (☐1/10,000 to <1/1,000); and very rare (<1/10,000).
Table 1: Adverse Reactions
System Organ Class
Immune System Disorders
Hypersensitivity reaction, Anaphylactic reaction (including Anaphylactic shock), Anaphylactoid reaction
Nervous System Disorders
Loss of consciousness, Stupor, Depressed level of consciousness, Hypertonia, Coordination abnormality
Constipation, Nausea, Flatulence
Abdominal pain, Abdominal discomfort, Dry mouth, Abdominal pain upper, Vomiting, Dyspepsia
Ileus (including paralytic ileus), Megacolon (including toxic megacolon – see section 4.4), Abdominal distension
Skin and Subcutaneous Tissue Disorders
Bullous eruption (including Stevens Johnson syndrome, Toxic epidermal necrolysis and Erythema multiforme),
Urticaria, Pruritus, Angioedema
Renal and Urinary Disorders
General Disorders and Administration Site Conditions
A number of the adverse reactions reported during the clinical investigations and post-marketing experience with loperamide hydrochloride are frequent symptoms of the underlying diarrhoeal syndrome (for example abdominal pain/discomfort, nausea, vomiting, dry mouth, tiredness, drowsiness, dizziness, constipation, and flatulence). These symptoms are often difficult to distinguish from undesirable drug effects.
The safety of loperamide hydrochloride was evaluated in 607 patients aged 10 days to 13 years who participated in 13 controlled and uncontrolled clinical trials of loperamide hydrochloride used for the treatment of acute diarrhoea. In general, the adverse reactions profile in this patient population was similar to that seen in clinical trials of loperamide hydrochloride in adults and children aged 12 years and over.
Reporting of suspected adverse reactions
Reporting suspected adverse reactions after authorisation of the medicinal product is important. It allows continued monitoring of the benefit/risk balance of the medicinal product. Healthcare professionals are asked to report any suspected adverse reactions via the Yellow Card Scheme at www.mhra.gov.uk/yellowcard.
In cases of overdose (including relative overdose due to hepatic dysfunction), CNS depression (stupor, coordination abnormality, somnolence, miosis, muscular hypertonia, and respiratory depression), constipation, urinary retention and ileus may occur. Children, and patients with hepatic dysfunction, may be more sensitive to CNS effects.
In individuals who have ingested overdoses of loperamide, cardiac events such as QT interval and QRS complex prolongation, torsades de pointes, other serious ventricular arrhythmias, cardiac arrest and syncope have been observed (see section 4.4). Fatal cases have also been reported. Overdose can unmask existing Brugada syndrome.
In cases of overdose, ECG monitoring for QT interval prolongation should be initiated.
If the patient develops respiratory depression, airway obstruction, vomiting with impaired consciousness or other CNS symptoms of overdose, give naloxone urgently. Since the duration of action of loperamide is longer than that of naloxone (1 to 3 hours), repeated treatment with naloxone might be indicated, the patient should be kept under constant observation for at least 48 hours in order to detect any possible CNS depression. Other measures should be as indicated by the patient's clinical condition.
Pharmacotherapeutic group: Antipropulsives
ATC – code: A07DA03
Loperamide binds to the opiate receptor in the gut wall, reducing propulsive peristalsis, increasing intestinal transit. Loperamide increases the tone of the anal sphincter.
Absorption: Most ingested loperamide is absorbed from the gut, but as a result of significant first pass metabolism, systemic bioavailability is only approximately 0.3%.
Distribution: Studies on distribution in rats show a high affinity for the gut wall with a preference for binding to receptors of the longitudinal muscle layer. The plasma protein binding of loperamide is 95%, mainly to albumin. Non-clinical data have shown that loperamide is a P-glycoprotein substrate.
Metabolism: Loperamide is almost completely extracted by the liver, where it is predominantly metabolized, conjugated and excreted via the bile.
Oxidative N-demethylation is the main metabolic pathway for loperamide, and is mediated mainly through CYP3A4 and CYP2C8. Due to this very high first pass effect, plasma concentrations of unchanged drug remain extremely low.
Elimination: The half-life of loperamide in man is about 11 hours with a range of 9-14 hours. Excretion of the unchanged loperamide and the metabolites mainly occurs through the faeces.
Paediatric Population: No pharmacokinetic studies were performed in the paediatric population. It is expected that pharmacokinetic behaviour of loperamide and drug-drug interactions with loperamide will be similar to those in adults.
Acute and chronic studies on loperamide showed no specific toxicity. Results of in vivo and in vitro studies carried out indicated that loperamide is not genotoxic. In reproduction studies, very high doses (40mg/kg/day – 240 times the maximum human use level) loperamide impaired fertility and foetal survival in association with maternal toxicity in rats. Lower doses had no effects on maternal or foetal health and did not affect peri- and post-natal development.
Non-clinical in vitro and in vivo evaluation of loperamide indicates no significant cardiac electrophysiological effects within its therapeutically relevant concentration range and at significant multiples of this range (up to 47-fold). However, at extremely high concentrations associated with overdoses (see section 4.4), loperamide has cardiac electrophysiological actions consisting of inhibition of potassium (hERG) and sodium currents, and arrhythmias.
Yellow orange S (E110)
Patent blue (E131)
Titanium dioxide (E171)
Yellow orange S (E110)
Titanium dioxide (E171)
Do not store above 25°C. Store in the original package in order to protect from light.
PVC: 250 micron
Aluminium Foil: 20 micron.
30, 60 Pack size.
Not all pack sizes may be marketed.
No special requirements.
Tillomed Laboratories Ltd
220 Butterfield, Great Marlings, Luton, LU2 8DL, UK
+44 (0)1480 402 400
+44 (0)1480 402 400
+44 (0)1480 402431 / +44 (0)1480 402432
+44 (0)1480 402431 / +44 (0)1480 402432