Healthcare professionals may give these medications to help reduce stomach acid production, stimulate forward movement of food to reduce constipation or diarrhea. Some common medications to reduce the effects of stomach acid are: antacids (Mylanta, Maalox, Tums, Rolaids, Gaviscon, Gelusil) protectants (Sucralfate/Carafate) and acid reducers (omeprazole [Prilosec], lansoprazole [Prevacid], cimetidine [Tagamet], ranitidine [Zantac], nizatidine [Axid], and Famotidine [Pepcid]). Some medications that stimulate forward movement of food are: metoclopramide (Reglan) and cisapride (Propulsid). Medications for constipation include docusate sodium (Colace), docusate calcium (Surfak), mineral oil, psyllium (Metamucil), senna (Senekot), castor oil, cascara, Fleet Phospho-soda, citrate of magnesia, bisacodyl (Ducolax), and docusate sodium with casanthranol (Peri-Colace). Some medications for diarrhea are: difenoxin HCl with atopine sulfate (Motofen), diphenoxylate with atropine sulfate (Lomotil), loperamide HCl (Imodium A-D, Imodium) kaolin and pectin (Kaopectate), Donnagel, bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto-Bismol), and attapulgite (Parepectolin).

How does the digestive system work and what do medications do?

  • The digestive tract. Food and fluids pass through the body within one large muscular tube. This tube begins in the mouth, goes down to the stomach, then on through the rest of the digestive tract. Food you eat usually moves in only one direction.down.
  • GERD. When food moves back up into the esophagus or throat, this is called reflux. Food also can rise back up all the way, causing vomiting. Individuals who have these symptoms regularly may suffer from GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease). Medications can lower stomach acidity or help food move down out of the stomach into the intestines.
  • Non-medication treatments for GERD. Individuals suffering from GERD can eat less at each meal, eat less fatty foods, wear loose-fitting clothing, remain upright after meals, and reduce smoking.
  • Diarrhea. Normally, a stool occurs at least once every three days. Diarrhea happens when stooling is too frequent or not solidly formed. Diarrhea medications help solidify the stools or lower the frequency of stooling. Be sure that persons with diarrhea are drinking plenty of fluids and avoid dairy products such as milk or ice cream.
  • Constipation. When the stool is difficult to pass or does not occur with a regular frequency, medications for constipation may help. Be sure that the person is drinking enough fluids (about 2 quarts each day) and receiving plenty of exercise such as walking, stretching, and bending at the waist.

What should I tell the healthcare professional about the individual who will be taking these medications?

  • Tell the healthcare professional about any alcohol or medications (prescriptions, or nonprescription) that the patient is taking.
  • Tell if the individual is pregnant.
  • Tell them about any changes in the individual's bowel habits or signs of nausea or vomiting.

How should I give this medication and how should I store it?

  • Give these medications by mouth unless indicated on the prescription.
  • You can give most of these medications either with or without food unless indicated on the prescription.
  • Give these medications on time and as prescribed.
  • Store medications at room temperature.

What side effects should I look for?

  • The person taking the medication may experience diarrhea, constipation, or increased or decreased effects of other medications.
  • Report immediately stomach pain, nausea, vomiting.

Where can I buy these medications?

  • Go to Drug Store on the World Wide Web and buy drugs online.