Kaopectate vs Imodium – Comparison of Side Effects & Uses

Kaopectate  

It is the brand name of a drug called bismuth subsalicylate, which belongs to a group of medications called antidiarrheals.

Bismuth subsalicylate is found in other brand names, including – Bismarex, Maalox Total Stomach Relief, Bismatrol, or Pepto-Bismol.

Mechanism of Action

It works by decreasing the flow of electrolytes and fluids into the bowel and may kill the organisms which can cause diarrhea.

Uses

This OTC medication is used to treat diarrhea, upset stomach, heartburn (a burning sensation in the chest and throat), indigestion, and nausea in adults and children 12 years and older.

Dosage

The usual recommended dose is 524 mg orally every 30 to 60 minutes as required.

Note – do not take more than 8 doses in a 24 hour period.

Side Effects and Precautions

Common side effects may include:

  • darkened tongue;
  • dark-colored stools;
  • constipation.

Rare side effects may include:

  • worsened stomach symptoms
  • diarrhea lasting longer than 2 days;
  •  ringing in the ears;
  • hearing loss.

Contraindications

Before taking this antidiarrheal, tell your healthcare provider if you have:

  • an allergy to salicylates, like – Salflex, Tricosal, aspirin, or Doan’s Extra Strength;
  • a recent history of stomach or intestinal bleeding;
  • stomach ulcer.

Alcohol

Avoid drinking alcoholic beverages while taking this antidiarrheal since alcohol use can substantially increase the risk of side effects.

Drug Interactions

It may negatively interact with other medications, especially:

  • other salicylates, like – aspirin, KneeRelief, Pepto-Bismol, Tricosal, Nuprin Backache Caplet, or Trilisate;
  • probenecid (Benemid);
  • a blood thinner like warfarin (Jantoven);
  • medication used to prevent blood clots, including – tenecteplase (TNKase), alteplase (Activase), urokinase (Abbokinase);
  • insulin or oral diabetes medications;
  • an antibiotic, like – minocycline (Dynacin, Solodyn), doxycycline (Doryx, Vibramycin), or tetracycline (Ala-Tet, Sumycin, Tetracap).

Pregnancy & Breastfeeding

There are no studies regarding the safe use of this antidiarrheal by pregnant women. Ask a healthcare provider before using this medication if you are pregnant.

Bismuth subsalicylate can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing infant. Do not breast-feed an infant while taking this antidiarrheal.

Imodium

It is the brand name of a medication called loperamide, which belongs to a group of medications called antidiarrheals.

Loperamide was originally approved by the US FDA in 1976.

Mechanism of Action

It works by affecting the nerves in the intestines to reduce stool frequency. Moreover, this medication reduces cramping and make the stools more solid.

Uses

This medication is used to relieve the symptoms of diarrhea that start suddenly and last for several days.

Diarrhea is a condition that can be described as an abnormal increase in the frequency, liquidity or volume of your stools.

Causes of diarrhea may include:

  • parasitic infections, such as those that cause giardiasis and amoebiasis;
  • food allergies and intolerance;
  • bacterial infections, such as Shigella, C.diff (Clostridium), E. coli, salmonella, or cholera (Vibrio cholerae);
  • a side effect of some medications;
  • irritable bowel syndrome (IBS);
  • viral infections.

Moreover, this medication may be used to treat people with inflammatory bowel disease or to decrease the amount of discharge in sufferers who have undergone an ileostomy.

Contraindications

Before taking this antidiarrheal, tell your healthcare provider if you have:

  • AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome);
  • liver disease;
  • mucus in your stools;
  • fever.

Dosage

Important note – the effect of loperamide can be observed within 1-3 hours after intake. To keep you from getting dehydrated, take the medication with a full glass of water. This medication must not be taken by children under 12 years of age unless it is prescribed by a doctor.

For acute diarrhea, the usual recommended dosage is 4 mg, taken straightaway, followed by 2 mg after each time the sufferer goes to the toilet with diarrhea.

Pregnancy & Breastfeeding

There are no conclusive studies to determine the safety of the antidiarrheal during pregnancy. Therefore, before using this medication, consult your doctor.

Since this medication can pass into breast milk and may negatively affect the breastfed infant, do not breastfeed while taking this antidiarrheal.

Side Effects and Precautions

Common side effects may include:

  • dizziness;
  • drowsiness;
  • nausea;
  • stomach cramps;
  • constipation.

Less common side effects may include:

  • ongoing or worsening diarrhea;
  • stomach pain or bloating;
  • fast or pounding heartbeats;
  • shortness of breath;
  • diarrhea which is watery or bloody;
  • a feeling like you might pass out;
  • fluttering in your chest;
  • sudden dizziness.

Abuse

This medication contains a small quantity of opiates, and a growing number of scientific reports have concluded that ingesting large amounts of this antidiarrheal can result in getting mild narcotic effects.

Drug Interactions

It may negatively interact with other medications, especially:

  • azithromycin;
  • Lotemax;
  • Zantac (ranitidine);
  • Benadryl (diphenhydramine);
  • Zyrtec (cetirizine);
  • Fetzima;
  • Cipro (ciprofloxacin);
  • Viberzi (eluxadoline);
  • Dicyclomine;
  • Lomotil (atropine/diphenoxylate);
  • Lexapro (escitalopram);
  • Zoloft (sertraline).

Alcohol

Drinking alcoholic beverages while taking this antidiarrheal may substantially increase the drowsy effect of loperamide.

Bottom Line – Kaopectate vs Imodium

Kaopectate (active ingredient – bismuth subsalicylate) is an antacid and anti-diarrhea medication which is used to treat nausea, heartburn, indigestion, diarrhea, and upset stomach.

Imodium (active ingredient – loperamide) is a medication that slows the rhythm of digestion. This alow the small intestines to have more time to absorb nutrients and fluids from the foods you consume.

References

https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/bismuth_subsalicylate
https://www.amjmed.com/article/0002-9343(90)90270-N/references
https://www.gastrojournal.org/article/S0016-5085(98)70311-7/references

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