Racecadotril for acute diarrhoea - Hidrasec

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Racecadotril reduces the symptoms of acute diarrhoea.

Take three times daily, until the diarrhoea stops.

It is important that you also have lots to drink, and try to eat as normally as possible.

If you suspect that you are becoming dehydrated, you should contact a doctor for advice.

Type of medicineEnkephalinase inhibitor
Used forAcute diarrhoea in adults and children over 3 months of age
Also calledHidrasec®
Available asCapsules and granules

Acute diarrhoea occurs suddenly and lasts for a short time. The most common cause is an infection (gastroenteritis). In most cases, the diarrhoea eases and goes within several days, but it can sometimes take longer. The main treatment for both adults and children with acute diarrhoea, is to have lots to drink. This will help to stop dehydration, which is the main risk associated with bouts of diarrhoea. You should also aim to eat as normally as possible.

Racecadotril is known as a pro-drug. Once inside your body it is broken down into an active ingredient called thiorphan. Thiorphan reduces the amount of watery secretions that are produced by your intestines. This helps to reduce the amount of fluid that your body loses. In turn, this reduces the symptoms of diarrhoea and helps reduce the risk of dehydration.

Although medicines are not normally given to stop diarrhoea in children under 12 years old, racecadotril is suitable for children over 3 months of age. It can be prescribed for your child if their symptoms are severe, or if they persist for several days or more.

Some medicines are not suitable for people with certain conditions, and sometimes a medicine may only be used if extra care is taken. For these reasons, before you (or if appropriate, your child) start taking racecadotril it is important that your doctor knows:

  • If there has been any blood or pus in your/their stools.
  • If you/they have a high temperature.
  • If you/they have any liver or kidney problems.
  • If you are pregnant or breast-feeding.
  • If you/they are taking 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/they have ever had an allergic reaction to a medicine.
  • Before starting this treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside the pack. The leaflet will give you more information about racecadotril and a full list of the side-effects which may occur from taking it.
  • Take racecadotril for acute diarrhoea exactly as your doctor tells you to. It is taken three times daily at regular intervals. You should take the first dose as soon as possible.
  • If you have been prescribed capsules, they work more quickly if they are taken before meals. If you forget to do this, they can be taken after food. Continue taking the capsules until the diarrhoea has stopped and you have passed two normal stools. Do not take racecadotril for longer than seven days.
  • If you have been supplied with sachets of granules for your child to take, these should be mixed with food (or bottle feeds), or added to water. Make sure the granules are mixed well, and then give the dose to your child straightaway. Give your child one dose three times daily - you will be told whether to use one or two sachets for each dose, as this will depend upon your child's weight. Continue the treatment until the diarrhoea stops. This usually means when two normal stools have been passed. You should not give racecadotril to your child for more than seven days.
  • It is likely that your doctor will also prescribe an oral rehydration solution. This is to help replace the water and electrolytes that your body is losing. Make sure that you follow the instructions your doctor gives you for taking this.
  • It is best not to have drinks that contain a lot of sugar, such as cola or pop, as they can sometimes make diarrhoea worse.
  • Some infections causing diarrhoea are very easily passed on from person to person. The following may help to prevent the spread of infection to others:
    • Make sure hands are washed thoroughly after going to the toilet. Ideally, use liquid soap in warm running water, but any soap is better than none. Dry properly after washing.
    • Don't share towels and flannels.
    • Don't prepare or serve food for others.
    • Regularly clean the toilet, including the handle and lid.
  • If you suspect that you or your child are becoming dehydrated, it is important that you get medical advice quickly. Symptoms of dehydration in adults include feeling tired or light-headed, headache, muscular cramps, sunken eyes, passing little urine, a dry mouth and tongue, and becoming irritable. Symptoms of dehydration in children include passing little urine, a dry mouth, a dry tongue and lips, fewer tears when crying, sunken eyes, and being irritable or lethargic.
  • If the diarrhoea persists even after taking racecadotril for seven days, make another appointment to see your doctor.

Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. The table below contains the most common ones. 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.

Common racecadotril side-effects - these affect less than 1 in 10 people who take this medicine
What can I do if I experience this?
HeadacheAsk your pharmacist to recommend a suitable painkiller

If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to this medicine, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.

  • Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
  • Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.

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. 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.

If you buy any medicines, check with a pharmacist that they are safe to take with your other medicines.

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

  • British National Formulary; 65th Edition (Mar 2013) 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.

Original Author:
Helen Allen
Current Version:
Peer Reviewer:
Dr Helen Huins
Document ID:
28686 (v1)
Last Checked:
Next Review:
The Information Standard - certified member

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