Alternate Names : Diarrhea associated with medications
Drug-induced diarrhea is loose, watery stools caused by certain medications.
See also: Diarrhea
Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors
Nearly all medications may cause diarrhea as a side effect. Some medications, however, are more prone to cause diarrhea than others. For example:
- Laxatives can and are meant to produce diarrhea by drawing water into the gut or increasing the muscle contractions of the intestine. However, taking too much of a laxative, or taking a laxative without being aware of it can cause diarrhea that is a problem.
- Antibiotics can produce diarrhea by destroying the bacteria of the gut. In some cases, antibiotics can allow a type of bacteria called Clostridium difficile to grow in excess. This can lead to infection and produce a severe, watery form of diarrhea called pseudomembranous colitis.
- Other drugs may be directly toxic to the digestive tract. Chemotherapy medicines for cancer, or medications that suppress the immune system (such as mycophenolate) are a common cause of diarrhea.
- Some herbal teas contain senna or other “natural” laxatives that can cause diarrhea.
Pictures & Images
Digestive system organs
The digestive system organs in the abdominal cavity include the liver, gallbladder, stomach, small intestine and large intestine.
Review Date : 1/20/2010
Reviewed By : Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington, School of Medicine; and George F. Longstreth, MD, Department of Gastroenterology, Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program, San Diego, California. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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