Date: July 2022, Version 3.1

Quick read

Loperamide is rarely used in pregnancy as it is unclear if it is safe for the baby.

What is it?

Loperamide (Imodium®, Norimode®, Diah-limit®, Diocalm ultra®, Normaloe®, Diaquitte®, Diasorb®, Entrocalm®) is most commonly used to treat short episodes of diarrhoea.

Loperamide may also be prescribed to treat long-term diarrhoea due to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), or to improve digestion in people who have had part of their bowel removed.


What are the benefits of taking loperamide in pregnancy?

Loperamide treatment can greatly improve quality of life. However, loperamide is only recommended in pregnancy if absolutely necessary as it is unclear if it might affect the unborn baby.


What are the risks of taking loperamide in pregnancy?

Some studies show possible links between loperamide use in pregnancy and birth defects in the baby, while others do not agree with this finding. It is therefore not possible to confirm that loperamide is safe to use in pregnancy.


Are there any alternatives to taking loperamide in pregnancy?

Yes, usually. Women with short-term diarrhoea will usually be advised to use non-drug treatments, such as resting and staying hydrated. For women with IBS, a different drug may be an option. Women planning a pregnancy or who become pregnant while taking loperamide should discuss their treatment with a doctor.

No treatment

What if I prefer not to take loperamide in pregnancy?

Women who take loperamide for long-term treatment may be able to safely stop if advised to do so by a doctor.

Medicines will only be prescribed during pregnancy when necessary and a doctor will be happy to talk about any concerns.

Will I or my baby need extra monitoring?

In the UK, all women will be offered a very detailed scan at around 20 weeks of pregnancy as part of their routine antenatal care. No additional monitoring of the baby is required due to use of loperamide.

Are there any risks to my baby if the father has taken loperamide?

There is no evidence that loperamide used by the father can harm the baby through effects on the sperm.

Who can I talk to if I have questions?

If you have any questions about the information in this leaflet please discuss them with your health care provider. They can access more detailed medical and scientific information from www.uktis.org.

How can I help to improve drug safety information for pregnant women in the future?

Our online reporting system (MyBump Portal) allows women who are currently pregnant to create a secure record of their pregnancy, collected through a series of questionnaires. You will be asked to enter information about your health, whether or not you take any medicines, your pregnancy outcome and your child's development. You can update your details at any time during pregnancy or afterwards. This information will help us better understand how medicines affect the health of pregnant women and their babies. Please visit the MyBump Portal to register.

General information
Sadly, miscarriage and birth defects can occur in any pregnancy.

Miscarriage occurs in about 1 in every 5 pregnancies, and 1 in every 40 babies are born with a birth defect. This is called the ‘background risk’ and happens whether medication is taken or not.

Most medicines cross the placenta and reach the baby. For many medications this is not a problem. However, some medicines can affect a baby’s growth and development.

If you take regular medication and are planning to conceive, you should discuss whether your medicine is safe to continue with your doctor/health care team before becoming pregnant. If you have an unplanned pregnancy while taking a medicine, you should tell your doctor as soon as possible.

If a new medicine is suggested for you during pregnancy, please make sure that the person prescribing it knows that you are pregnant. If you have any concerns about a medicine, you can check with your doctor, midwife or pharmacist.

Our Bumps information leaflets provide information about the effects of medicines in pregnancy so that you can decide, together with your healthcare provider, what is best for you and your baby.