Worst Pills, Best Pills

An expert, independent second opinion on more than 1,800 prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, and supplements

Drug Profile

Do NOT stop taking this or any drug without the advice of your physician. Some drugs can cause severe adverse effects when they are stopped suddenly.

Do Not Use [what does this mean?]
Generic drug name: diphenoxylate and atropine (dye fen OX i late and a TROE peen)
Brand name(s): LOMOTIL, LONOX
GENERIC: not available FAMILY: Drugs for Diarrhea
Find the drug label by searching at DailyMed.

Alternative Treatment [top]

See Diarrhea.

Safety Warnings For This Drug [top]

Product Warnings

Ask a doctor or pharmacist before use if you are taking antibiotics.

When using this product, tiredness, drowsiness or dizziness may occur. Be careful driving or operating machinery.

Stop using and ask a doctor if symptoms get worse, diarrhea lasts more than two days or you get abdominal swelling or bulging. These may be signs of a serious condition.

If pregnant or breast-feeding, ask a health care professional before use.

Older adults are especially sensitive to the harmful anticholinergic effects of this drug. Drugs in this family should not be used unless absolutely necessary.

Mental Effects: confusion, delirium, short-term memory problems, disorientation and impaired attention.

Physical Effects: dry mouth, constipation, difficulty urinating (especially for a man with an enlarged prostate), blurred vision, decreased sweating with increased body temperature, sexual dysfunction and worsening of glaucoma.

Facts About This Drug [top]

This combination of diphenoxylate and atropine is used to treat severe diarrhea. It should never replace rehydration, which is the primary treatment for diarrhea. Because of serious adverse effects, we recommend that older adults not use this product. The World Health Organization has warned against the drug’s use in children.[1]

If you occasionally have short-term diarrhea, it is best to treat it without drugs using oral rehydration solution (see Diarrhea). If nondrug treatments do not...

This combination of diphenoxylate and atropine is used to treat severe diarrhea. It should never replace rehydration, which is the primary treatment for diarrhea. Because of serious adverse effects, we recommend that older adults not use this product. The World Health Organization has warned against the drug’s use in children.[1]

If you occasionally have short-term diarrhea, it is best to treat it without drugs using oral rehydration solution (see Diarrhea). If nondrug treatments do not control your diarrhea, see your doctor. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has concluded: “Little evidence exists to support the use of nonspecific drug therapy [for acute diarrhea] in children, and much information exists to the contrary.”[2]

Diphenoxylate can depress your breathing, causing severe shortness of breath. An overdose can cause severe respiratory depression and coma, possibly leading to permanent brain damage or death.

In 2015, a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine showed that strong anticholinergic drugs, including atropine, were associated with an increased risk for dementia in older adults. The study also showed that higher doses and longer use of these drugs are associated with higher risk for dementia.

Refer to the August issue of Worst Pills, Best Pills News for examples of strong anticholinergic drugs.[3]

last reviewed March 31, 2021