Last reviewed 01/2018

Acute diarrhoea/gastro-enteritis:

  • initially treat with water/clear fluids only
  • rehydration preparations are used to treat fluid &
  • electrolyte loss, esp in infants & the frail & elderly
  • if severe dehydration develops, admit
  • antimotility drugs are occasionally used for convenience but work against nature and often cause constipation
  • antibiotics are indicated only for systemic bacterial enteritis as campylobacter, salmonella and shigella
  • antispasmodics are occasionally used for cramps Young children: avoid antispasmodics, antiemetics and antimotility drugs as they have troublesome side-effects Bulk-formers (ispaghula, methylcellulose, sterculia)
  • may control faecal consistency in ileostomy & colostomy
  • may control diarrhoea from diverticular disease Kaolin adsorbent is not recommended for acute diarrhoea.