Diarrhea associated with medications  

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Diarrhea associated with medications


Diarrhea can have many causes, including medications. Diarrhea is a common side effect of medications. For example:

  • Laxatives can produce diarrhea by drawing water into the gut, increasing the muscular contraction of the intestine, lubricating the lining of the gut, or a combination of these effects.
  • Antibiotics can produce diarrhea by destroying the normal bacteria of the gut. These normal, good gut bacteria are called probiotics. Once these "friendly" bacteria are destroyed, a bad organism called Clostridium difficile may then enter the digestive tract. It can cause a severe, watery form of diarrhea called pseudomembranous colitis.
  • Other drugs may be directly toxic to the digestive tract. Chemotherapy medicines are a frequent example.
See the full article on diarrhea.

Alternative Names

Diarrhea associated with medications


To prevent diarrhea related to antibiotic use, talk to your doctor about taking probiotic supplements. Continue taking these supplements for a few days after the course of antibiotics is complete.

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