Medicines That Can Cause Diarrhea

We have all been there when a sudden urge to use the restroom becomes constant and repetitive. Diarrhea is a problematic condition that results in loss of essential body fluids and salts, which can lead to fatigue and other disorders. Although the primary cause of diarrhea is eating bad food or drinking contaminated water, an onset of diarrhea can also be triggered by medication. Interestingly, there are approximately 700 medicines on the market that induce diarrhea to some extent; however, the chances for most of them to do so are less than 0.3%, therefore, only specific ones are mentioned on this list.

Medicines causing Diarrhea Cover


Amoxicillin diarrhea

Amoxicillin was developed by a British pharmaceutical company, Beecham Group, in the 1960s. It is a penicillin-based antibiotic that is used in the treatment of various bacterial infections like H. pylori, pneumonia, skin infections, ear infection, and urinary tract infections. It is not prescribed to people that have kidney or liver problems. Being an antibiotic, it works by killing the bacteria that is causing the infection, and people begin feeling better within 3 days of administration. Although it is an effective medicine against bacterial infections, it can also cause moderate-to-severe diarrhea. Interestingly, diarrhea can even be experienced 2 months after stopping the medicine. Still, it is enlisted as an essential medicine by the World Health Organization.

Brand Name: Amoxil


Atenolol hair fall

With an ever-increasing number of heart patients, it is not a surprise that companies are producing medicines to deal with cardiovascular diseases. Among all the medicines, atenolol is widely used, as in 2019, 18 million people were using this medicine. It is a beta-blocker, therefore, it is primarily used in the treatment of high blood pressure, and secondarily, for migraines and hyperthyroidism. By altering the nerve impulses in the heart, it tricks the heart to beat slower, resulting in dropped blood pressure. While atenolol causes diarrhea, it is the least worrying side effect of this medicine because it can cause heart failure, depression, as well as bronchospasm.

Brand Name: Tenormin


Cephalexin diarrhea

Also on the list of the World Health Organization’s essential medicines, cephalexin is an antibiotic that is used in the treatment of bacterial infections. It is known to work against both gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria. Gram staining is a test that is used to determine the characteristics of the bacterial cell wall by observing the change in color of the sample. It is prescribed to people experiencing middle ear infections, bone infections, skin infections, and urinary tract infections. Interestingly, in 2013, it became the fifth most used antibiotic in Canada. Cefalexin was first introduced to the market in 1970, while it was developed in 1967. Frequently experienced adverse effects of this medicine are upset stomach, diarrhea, and fever.

Brand Name: Keflex


Clindamycin diarrhea

Clindamycin is known to cause diarrhea, along with vomiting, rashes, and pseudomembranous colitis. This medicine was developed in 1966. People experiencing anaerobic infections, dental infections, joint infections, pelvic inflammatory disease, strep throat, and respiratory tract infections are prescribed clindamycin. Additionally, it is also prescribed to people that are allergic to penicillin. Interestingly, it also has veterinary uses, as clindamycin is also administered in dogs and cats for the mentioned issues. It works by slowing down the production or simply killing the bacteria by inhibiting it from making protein. It is available as a tablet and topical cream.

Brand Name: Cleocin


Colchicine diarrhea

Autumn crocus, a plant from which colchicine is derived, has been medically used for centuries. Records that date back to 1500 BC have been found, stating that this plant was used in the treatment of joint swelling. While the medicine was introduced to the market in 1961, it remained unreviewed by the Food and Drug Administration of the United States until 1982. Presently, it is largely used in the treatment of gout and Behcet’s disease; however, it is sometimes also prescribed to patients with pericarditis and familial Mediterranean fever. Side effects of colchicine include diarrhea, upset stomach, and vomiting. These adverse effects can be experienced within 2 hours of administration.

Brand Name: Colcrys


Fluoxetine hair fall

Fluoxetine belongs to the category of antidepressants, specifically, it is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor. It was proposed by a scientist, David T. Wong, who was working at Eli Lilly, an American pharmaceutical company. Following testing, this medicine was proven to be effective as an antidepressant, and it was given the trade name ‘Prozac’ and became available on the market in 1977. With 27 million prescriptions, it became the 20th most used medicine in the United States in 2019. Interestingly, it is also among the only four antidepressants permitted for pilots. Since it interacts with serotonin function in the brain, it causes headaches, tremors, appetite loss, insomnia, and diarrhea.

Brand Name: Prozac


Levothyroxine diarrhea

Levothyroxine was first synthesized by two British chemists, Charles Robert Harington and George Barger, in 1927. It is primarily used to treat thyroid deficiencies like Hashimoto’s disease and myxedema coma. Additionally, it is also used in the prevention of thyroid tumors. Unlike other medicines that work by altering the functionality of certain organs, levothyroxine is more like a thyroid supplement. Despite that, it still has adverse effects like insomnia, tremor, rapid heart rate, diarrhea, and headaches.

Brand Name: Synthroid


Lisinopril diarrhea

Once metabolized by the liver, lisinopril inhibits the tightening of the blood vessels, resulting in a lowered blood pressure and an increased supply of oxygen-rich blood to the heart. As expected, it is prescribed to patients with high blood pressure, and it is also used in the treatment of heart failure. It was approved for medical use in 1987. Some of the common side effects of lisinopril are nausea, low blood pressure, dizziness, and diarrhea.

Brand Name: Prinivil

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