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Who should not take antidiarrhea and gas medications?

Children aged 6 years or younger should not take antidiarrhea medications, unless your child's doctor tells you so. Loperamide is the active ingredient in many over-the-counter (OTC) antidiarrhea medications (Imodium). Do not take medications that contain loperamide if you have a fever or if you have had an allergic reaction to it in the past. Do not take loperamide if you have black or bloody stools, which may be signs of a more serious problem.

Bismuth subsalicylate, the active ingredient in Pepto-Bismol and Kaopectate, is another common ingredient in antidiarrhea medications. Do not take a medicine that contains bismuth subsalicylate if you are allergic to or are taking aspirin or if you have a bleeding problem such as hemophilia, an active bleeding ulcer, black or bloody stools, or Von Willebrand disease. Children younger than 12 years of age, as well as those between 12 and 18 years of age who have the flu or chickenpox, should not take medications containing bismuth subsalicylate or aspirin because it may increase the risk for Reye's syndrome, a serious disease.

OTC gas medications that contain simethicone may be given to children. When in doubt, call your child's healthcare provider.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.