Diloxanide is used to treat an infection in your bowel.
Take one tablet every eight hours for 10 days.
If you have diarrhoea, drink plenty of fluids so that you don't become lacking in fluid in the body (dehydrated).Even if you don't feel unwell, it is important that you complete the full course of tablets.
|Type of medicine||An amoebicide|
|Used for||Amoebiasis (in adults and in children over 12 years of age)|
|Also called||Diloxanide furoate|
Diloxanide is used to treat an infection caused by a very small living organism (amoeba) called Entamoeba histolytica (often shortened to E. histolytica).
Infection with the amoeba can occur after drinking water contaminated by infected stools (faeces) or eating food prepared or washed using contaminated water. Most people with amoebiasis do not develop any symptoms, but in those who do, diarrhoea is the most common symptom. People most at risk of amoebiasis include travellers to areas where infection with the amoeba is common, such as countries with poor sanitation.
Treatment for amoebiasis includes medication such as diloxanide to kill the organism, and drinking plenty of fluids to prevent lack of fluid in the body (dehydration).
Before taking diloxanide
Some medicines are not suitable for people with certain conditions, and sometimes a medicine can only be used if extra care is taken. For these reasons, before you start taking diloxanide it is important that your doctor knows:
- If you are pregnant or breast-feeding.
- If you are taking or using any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, such as herbal and complementary medicines.
- If you have ever had an allergic reaction to a medicine.
How to take diloxanide
- Before you start the treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside the pack. It will give you more information about diloxanide, and will also provide you with a full list of the side-effects which you could experience from taking it.
- Take the tablets exactly as your doctor tells you to. It is usual to take one tablet three times a day for 10 days. Space your doses out evenly throughout the day - so ideally, take one tablet every eight hours. You can take the tablets either with or without food.
- Even if you feel well, keep taking the tablets until the course is finished (unless your doctor tells you to stop). If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember. Try to take the correct number of doses each day but do not take two doses at the same time to make up for a missed dose.
Getting the most from your treatment
- It is very important when you have diarrhoea that you drink plenty of fluids to prevent you from becoming lacking in fluid in the body (dehydrated). Your doctor will advise you about how much and what type of fluids you should drink.
- Wash your hands thoroughly after going to the toilet. This will help to prevent the spread of the infection to others. Ideally, use liquid soap in warm running water, but any soap is better than none. Dry your hands properly after washing, and don't share towels or flannels with other people.
- Regularly clean the toilets that you use with disinfectant. Keep a cloth just for cleaning the toilet (or use a disposable one each time). Remember to wipe the flush handle, toilet seat, bathroom taps and door handles at least once a day with hot water and detergent.
- Be careful to wash your hands before preparing, serving, or eating your food. Don't prepare or serve food for others.
- You should stay off work, school, college, etc, while you have amoebiasis. Your doctor will advise you when it is suitable for you to return. Avoid contact with other people as far as possible during this time.
Can diloxanide cause problems?
Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. The table below contains some of the most common ones associated with diloxanide. You will find a full list in the manufacturer's information leaflet supplied with your medicine. The unwanted effects often improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following continue or become troublesome.
|Diloxanide side-effects||What can I do if I experience this?|
|Feeling or being sick, loss of appetite, diarrhoea, tummy (abdominal) cramps, wind (flatulence)||Stick to simple foods - avoid rich or spicy meals|
|Skin rash and itching, headache, dizziness||These are usually mild, but should they become troublesome, speak with your doctor|
If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to the tablets, speak with your doctor or pharmacist for further advice.
How to store diloxanide
- Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
- Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.
Important information about all medicines
If you are having an operation or dental treatment, tell the person carrying out the treatment which medicines you are taking.
If you buy any medicines, check with a pharmacist that they are suitable to take with your other medicines.
Never take more than the prescribed dose. If you suspect that you or someone else might have taken an overdose of this medicine, go to the accident and emergency department of your local hospital at once. Take the container with you, even if it is empty.
This medicine is for you. Never give it to other people even if their condition appears to be the same as yours.
Do not keep out-of-date or unwanted medicines. Take them to your local pharmacy which will dispose of them for you.
If you have any questions about this medicine ask your pharmacist.
Further reading & references
- Manufacturer's PIL, Diloxanide 500 mg Tablets; Amdipharm Mercury Company Limited, The electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated January 2015
- British National Formulary; 70th Edition (Sep 2015) British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London
Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.
Dr Adrian Bonsall