NHS Dudley Health Economy Medicines Formulary
Home > 1 Gastro-intestinal system > 1.4 Acute diarrhoea

1.4 Acute diarrhoea

General guidance

The first line of treatment in acute diarrhoea, as in gastro-enteritis, is prevention or treatment of fluid and electrolyte depletion. This is especially important in infants and in frail and elderly patients.

  • Antimotility agents may be useful in adults for short-term symptomatic relief.
  • Antispasmodics may be useful in the management of abdominal cramp associated with diarrhoea, but they should not be used as a primary treatment.
  • Antidiarrhoeal drugs should not be prescribed in the presence of untreated chronic inflammatory bowel disease.
  • Antibiotics are unnecessary in simple gastro-enteritis, even if a bacterial cause is suspected.

Recommended drugs

Children and adults

Oral Rehydration Salts (Ors) £


Loperamide Hydrochloride £

Codeine Phosphate £


Drug Traffic Light Key:

Green – On Formulary

Amber – Restricted use, see local guidelines

Purple – Specialist use/initiation

Red – Non Formulary


Relative Costs Key (where indicated):

£££££ - high

£££ - moderate

£ - low

Site by Devopa
© Copyright 2024 NHS. All rights reserved.