First ever post! IBS / Anxiety - Can I take loperamide (imodium) long term??

Thanks for taking the time to read this.

After struggling for years with anxiety/stress-related IBS, I've finally found a medication that helps. I've been taking one imodium plus comfort tablet daily, 3 or 4 if it's a stressful day. You should not exceed 4 in 24 hours according the advice sheet. Is this something I can keep taking long-term? It's helped me so much, I'd just feel so much more at ease if I knew there weren't any serious long-term health risks!

25 Replies

  • Hi,

    My Consultant tells me he has patients who take it every day. I would mention it to your GP if you are taking it regularly just in case, especially if you find you have to take more than one per day.

  • I take the immodium instants sometimes. Like you I suffer from anxiety related ibs and if I've taken one it puts my mind at ease a little (although they don't always work and they leave me bunged up for days once I've calmed down!) 

    I don't think the instants are designed to be taken regularly. Are the comfort ones different? I'm not familiar with them...

  • I'm fortunate that if I'm only taking one imodium a day, it doesn't leave me bunged up. Rather, it just slows the whole process down a little.

    Imodium plus comfort are generic loperamide (the same ingredient in most Imodium / anti diarrhea products) but also contain simethicone. I'm guessing the simethicone is what makes the 'plus comfort' different from other imodium. That helps with trapped wind and feeling bloated. 

    The one time I had side effects from taking loperamide on it's own, I had a really painful period of trapped wind (common if you take loperamide regularly I've heard). I've switched to the imodium plus comfort (which claims to help with trapped wind) no side effects or problems as of yet.

  • I also have painful bloat with Imodium.  I find half a tablet usually doesn't affect me as badly but often will still do the trick.

  • Imodium plus comfort claim to help with wind / bloat. Maybe you will find these more suitable. Good luck.

  • Thanks.  I'll check to see if we have these in Canada.

  • I am 90 percent sure imodium is not recommended for long term use. Honestly no drug should be taken or self administered long term.  My rule is if I think I need to use a drug for longer than a week or two I need to reevaluate my use of that drug unless I have talked to my Dr. 

  • My GP told me Imodium is no problem if taken regularly if you only take one or two.  I take them whenever I feel the need but now generally take the instants and only take half a tablet at a time which seems to still work without bunging me up.

  • Hi I have a bowel problem,  plus IBS and was advised to take Immodium

    on a daily basis which I do.  I was interested to hear that they do one

    'with comfort'.  I get my Immodium on prescription but mine do not

    have the 'extra'.  Do you  have them prescription ?.  

  • Interested to read that you take imodium daily n you can get on prescription. Your doctor must think its safe then.m

    What is this imodium with comfort ???

  • Hi. The 'plus comfort' imodium help with bloating and trapped wind too. I don't have any sort of prescription as it stands, I've been self-medicating. Just booked an appointment with my GP to see what best course of action is for me. Imodium has been a big help though!

  • No prescription. I've been buying Imodium plus comfort (which you can buy without the supervision of a pharmacist.) The 'plus comfort' bit is said target trapped wind and feeling bloated. Do you ever get trapped wind while taking regular imodium? I did, so I switched to imodium plus comfort.

  • I agree with ours on here that imodium should not be taken long term.  From what i understand it slows down the bowel contraction that moves the waste through n out your system. If used too much it can actually make your bowel become lazy which could in turn create constipation ( hope this is correct ).

    I take them only when really bad loose tummy or when i am travelling as i will be in 2 weeks when i fly to Lanzarote. Does take 3/4 days for my tummy to start working again properly though.

    Dont know if this helps. Good luck.

  • I have Imodium on prescription that I take usually 2 or 3 a day. Have been on them for years now. Went for a medicine review yesterday nothing ever gets said about them?

    Worried now, is there a issue with them? Just told to self regulate them label says 

    'Use as directed for ibs, maximum 4 per day,

  • Hi. From what I gather, you're not alone in taking Imodium long-term. I've read quite a few IBS forums and there are people taking them without issue. Doctors and consultants seem to be willing to prescribe it in the right circumstances so I wouldn't worry too much. I'm going to meet with my GP in a few weeks and see what they recommend is best for me.

  • My son has prescription loperamide to take every day, due to Ulcerative colitis which resulted in three sessions of major surgery to remove his colon and reconstruct using other bits of colon; he has ongoing significant issues. I think it's pretty safe therefore, but definitely discuss with your own GP too (or specialist consultant if you are seeing one).

  • Thanks to everyone that has replied. Ideally, no-one wants to be on medication long-term and I'm sure there are risks with all medications. However imodium is making a big difference to my life. I still have regular bowel movements while taking it (I know it bungs some people up) and have experienced hardly any side effects. 

    I'm meeting with my GP in a few weeks to see what they recommend. Until now I've been taking 1 a day (self-medicated). I shall keep you posted.

  • Hi The one I get on prescription is Loperamide, it is Immodium When 

    taking it I have lots of drinks and always have fruit after my evening meal.

    I take it not so much for diarrhea, but to slow down the passage of food

    through my system. I try and eat a diet fairly high in fibre as thats best 

    for my particular problem, but each day can be different. I just noticed

    that someone said they cut them in half, thats a good idea but mine

    are capsules, maybe have to think about that.  I also take it in the morning

    but on occasion I have taken it before my evening meal and that worked

    well. As I am not taking usually for diarrhea it works differently. Of course 

    sometimes I do take it for diarrhea and at those times I would take it

    immediately afterwards.  

  • Hi.  It's ok and safe according to my consultant who said 'Treat Imodium as your friend to be used and abused as you want'........not that I would use and abuse a friend!  In fact she also said not to miss out on foods that I really enjoy but just take one beforehand if out at a restaurant for example.  It is reassuring to have this little 'friend' especially when you have to go out or work etc. and IBS is playing up.   I remember a holiday three years ago when all on the tummy front was fine apart from the morning we were due to leave.  I woke up and had to run to the loo and had desperate diarhoea.  I was terrified as I had a day's travelling to get through.  I immediately took two and a little later had to go again!  I took one more and from then on was absolutely fine.  I have to add I didn't go again for about a week!

  • Thanks that was very helpful. So by your consultant's standard, would 1 Imodium a day be acceptable? (Might be difficult for you to answer this). Obviously it works different for everyone as I can take one a day without being 'bunged up'

  • She made no limitations, other than what the instructions on the packet say.  She had said before to keep stools the right consistency take half to one a day.  I personally do not need them every day as some days I don't go at all and then when I have a loose issue I take two and don't go for a week!  Not a problem though evidently!  Trial and error.

  • I was told by my consultant that Imodium would be totally safe to take ' for life'. I've been taking it for 3 years on and off, sometimes half a day sometimes one/two. Imodium Instants you can snap in half.  UK.

     My experience is that it gives you the confidence to worry less about accidents  and therefore takes the stress away. That in itself relaxes me so I get less instances of diarrhoea. I find that I am so much better if I can just 'forget' about it and get on with life.

    I would add that I am very lucky that I get just the horrid diarrhoea, but very little pain or bloating.

  • Hi I take Imodium if I'm going out to eat it helps me to not have to worry about running to the loo but I find I don't go at all the next day which is worrying. Someone has recommended silicol gel so I'm going to give it a try to see if it works will let you know.

  • Yes you can take Imodium everyday long term with no side effects. I've been taking it everyday for 10 years. It's best to take after your first bowel movement in the morning as you don't want to become bloated and constipated. If there is pain codeine is also great for diarrea.

  • Took Imodium instants several times a day for well over a year. Ended up with bacterial overgrowth in my small intestine (SIBO) which was even more of a nightmare than the reasons why I started. Whether the two were linked I can't say for sure but I have to say that it feels like the constant immobolisation of my gut did cause it.

    That said though, it is very commonly used by people over for a long time and I've never met a doctor who thought I shouldn't be.

    The thing I would recommend is only use it if you need it, I got into a habit of taking 'just in case' and I don't believe that's beneficial.

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