Lomotil for IBS Diarrhea

Side Effects and Safety Concerns

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Lomotil (diphenoxylate and atropine) is a medication used to treat diarrhea, including cases of diarrhea-predominant irritable bowel syndrome (IBS-D). It's an oral medication that is available in tablet or liquid form. Lomotil is designed for short-term use only, as it runs the risk of becoming habit-forming. In rare cases, Lomotil may be prescribed for long-term use, but only under close supervision by a healthcare provider.

It's important to note that Lomotil does contain the controlled substance diphenoxylate, which is in fact, an opioid drug.

Doctor writing a prescription.
Steve Cole / Getty Images

How Does Lomotil Work?

Lomotil is made up of two separate ingredients: diphenoxylate and atropine.

Diphenoxlyate, the primary ingredient in Lomotil, works to slow colonic motility. This allows for more liquid to be drawn from the stool, firming it up and, thus, relieving diarrhea symptoms. Diphenoxylate is a narcotic and carries the risk of dependence.

A small dose of atropine, an anticholinergic medication, is included in Lomotil in order to reduce the likelihood of abuse, as higher doses of atropine cause unpleasant physical symptoms.

Lomotil is just one brand of diphenoxylate and atropine. Others include:

  • Lofene
  • Logen
  • Lomanate
  • Lomocot
  • Lonox
  • Vi-Atro

Safe Usage

Before taking Lomotil for IBS diarrhea, make sure that you inform your healthcare provider of any co-existing medical conditions and other medications you are taking.

While taking Lomotil:

  • Be sure to follow dosing instructions carefully.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Do not drink alcohol.

If there is no improvement in your symptoms in two days, call your healthcare provider.

Side Effects of Lomotil

Lomotil can cause drowsiness, so do not drive or operate machinery while taking this drug. It may also cause mouth dryness. In addition to drinking plenty of water, sucking on hard candies may be helpful.

If you experience any of the following side effects or any other severe, unexpected symptoms, seek medical help immediately:

  • Allergic reactions, such as hives or skin rash, or swelling of face, lips or tongue, or difficulty breathing
  • Blurred vision
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Rapid heartbeat or palpitations
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Nausea or vomiting

In rare cases, severe and sudden allergic reactions to Lomotil have resulted in anaphylaxis which can be life-threatening. Call 911 immediately.


The manufacturer's drug label provides these contraindications for Lomotil. Do not take Lomotil for any diarrhea caused by a bacterial infection, such as C. diff, salmonella, or E coli, or any other time you are experiencing fever or see blood in your bowel movements.

If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, check with your healthcare provider before taking Lomotil.

The medication should never be given to a child under the age of 12 due to the risk of Lomotil overdose. In addition, Lomotil should never be given to a child of any age unless it is under the supervision of a healthcare provider.

People who are elderly are more likely to experience potentially dangerous side effects and so also should only be given Lomotil under the supervision of a healthcare provider.

A Word From Verywell

Lomotil appears to be best used as a short-term treatment for diarrhea. Due to the risk of dependency, Lomotil should only be used as an ongoing treatment with healthcare provider supervision. As IBS-D is a chronic condition, it may be best to pursue alternative treatment options for diarrhea.

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2 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Label: Lomotil CV diphenoxylate hydrochloride and atropine sulfate tablet.

  2. National Institutes of Health DailyMed. Label: Lomotil-diphenoxylate hydrochloride and atropine sulfate tablet.

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