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Is Lomotil safe for children?

Q: My daughter is 4 and a half months old. For the last 4 days she has been suffering from dysentery (she passes liquid stool of dirty green colour 4-5 times a day). One of the medicines that her doctor (a child specialist) has prescribed is Lomotil tablets (a tablet is to be powdered, and only one-third of it is to be given to the baby). But the tablets packaging has the words not suitable for paediatric use marked on it. I have asked the doctor, but he says that the dose is safe, and since other drugs were not responding it was OK to give this medicine to the baby. Is the doctors statement acceptable? Please advise.

A:Lomotil is NOT to be used in children. It contains two drugs: diphenoxylate and atropine. Diphenoxylate is an opium-like substance derived from pethidine. Use of Lomotil is legally prohibited in children. Your daughter is having diarrhoea (not dysentery). The only treatment required is rehydration (i.e. plenty of Oral Rehydratation Salts such as Peditral). Over 90% of diarrhoea in children in India is due to viruses for which no drug is required. Unless there are bacteria (not viruses), no antibiotic is needed. You may wish to consult another paediatrician if the infant is still suffering from diarrhoea.

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