Compare Imodium vs. Tums

Head-to-head comparisons of medication uses, side effects, ratings, and more.

Imodium
(Loperamide)

Tums
(Calcium Carbonate)

Treats diarrhea. One day is too many days to have diarrhea. Having Imodium (Loperamide) on hand to relieve your symptoms can be a life-saver.Relieves heartburn. Tums (Calcium Carbonate) gives quick relief for heartburn, but don't expect it to last all day.
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Reviews & ratings
Button Group. All currently active
Button Group. All currently active
5.738181818181818Imodium
Reviews for Imodium (Loperamide)
89%
of people say Imodium (Loperamide) is worth it
64%
say it works well
6%
say it's a big hassle
Reviews for Tums (Calcium Carbonate)
82%
7% vs. Imodium (Loperamide)
43%
21% vs. Imodium (Loperamide)
5%
+1% vs. Imodium (Loperamide)
Side effects
ImodiumTums

The Imodium FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.

More about Imodium side effects »

We haven’t found good data for Tums side effects.

FDA side effect reports for Tums »
How it works
ImodiumTums
Imodium (Loperamide) is an antidiarrheal medicine. It's actually an opioid related to morphine, though it doesn't affect the brain like opioid pain medicines do. Instead, it works directly on muscles in your large intestine to stop contractions and increase the time it takes for stool to move through. The result is less diarrhea and more formed stool.Tums (Calcium Carbonate) is an antacid. It counteracts the effects of stomach acid to relieve heartburn and acid tummy (indigestion).
Type of medication
ImodiumTums
Antidiarrheal
Antimotility
Over-the-counter
AntacidOver-the-counter
Available as
ImodiumTums
  • Pill
  • Chewable tablet
  • Liquid
  • Chewable tablet
  • Liquid
Used for (click to learn more)
ImodiumTums
Risk factors for serious side effects
ImodiumTums
  • Allergy to loperamide
  • Taking with alcohol
  • Taking other medicines that make you less alert
  • Current liver problems
  • Taking HIV medicines
  • Active infectious colitis
  • Women of childbearing age
Detailed Imodium (Loperamide) risks & warnings »
    • Current kidney disease
    • Kidney dialysis
    • Hyperparathyroid disease
    • Taking high doses of Vitamin D
    • Previous kidney stones
    Detailed Tums (Calcium Carbonate) risks & warnings »
    Pregnancy category
    ImodiumTums
    CFDA pregnancy category (Weigh risks vs. benefits)

    Research studies with animals found harmful effects on unborn babies. It hasn’t been properly studied in humans. The benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

    See the FDA package insert
    NFDA pregnancy category (Unknown)

    The FDA hasn’t classified this medicine’s effects on unborn babies. Talk with your doctor about this medicine if you’re pregnant or planning on it.

    See the FDA package insert
    Alcohol
    No specific alcohol-related info.No specific alcohol-related info.
    Food
    No specific food-related info.No specific food-related info.
    Kidneys and liver
    No specific kidneys and liver-related info.
    • People with kidney disease on dialysis may need to take a lower dose or avoid use. Your doctor can do blood tests to see if it's safe to use.
    • If you have kidney or hyperparathyroid disease Tums (Calcium Carbonate) can build up in your blood. This may can cause toxic levels of calcium in your body. This is more likely if you have severe kidney disease (defined as a kidney function blood test called GFR of less than 30ml/min). If you have severe kidney disease or are on kidney dialysis don't use Tums (Calcium Carbonate); a different antacid would be better for you.
    • Tums (Calcium Carbonate) contains calcium. Calcium can be an ingredient in some kidney stones. If you have had kidney stones in the past (especially the calcium-containing kind) be careful using Tums (Calcium Carbonate). Use the lowest dose for the shortest time possible or just play it safe and use a different antacid instead.
    Sex
    No specific sex-related info.No specific sex-related info.
    Sleep
    No specific sleep-related info.No specific sleep-related info.
    Weight
    • The correct dose of Imodium may be different depending on age. Use the dosing chart to find the right amount of medicine based on age and weight.
    No specific weight-related info.
    Upsides and benefits
    ImodiumTums
    • Most people who take Imodium feel there's no hassle and it's definitely worth it!
    • Non-habit forming and available over-the-counter.
    • It comes in caplets, liquid, and chewable tablets so you can use it anywhere you need it.
    • Imodium is used for short-term, chronic and traveler's diarrhea. It's also used for people who have diarrhea caused by cancer or certain medicines that treat cancer.
    • Works really fast.
    • Available over the counter without a prescription.
    • Cheap.
    Downsides and risks
    ImodiumTums
    • Imodium only treats your diarrhea symptoms. Diarrhea may be caused by a number of conditions and will need specific treatment that deals with the underlying issue.
    • Studies in people taking Imodium for chronic diarrhea showed if the maximum number of doses didn't relieve symptoms in 10 days, then it probably won't work for that condition. You can talk to your doctor about other treatment options.
    • Doesn't last very long.
    • Other antacids like Zantac (H2 blockers) and omeprazole (proton pump inhibitors) can work better and last longer.
    • Some chalky aftertaste.
    Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
    ImodiumTums
    • Try to drink plenty of clear liquids. Having diarrhea can make you dehydrated.
    • The correct dose of Imodium may be different depending on age. Use the dosing chart to find the right amount of medicine based on age and weight.
    • Shake Imodium liquid well before using. Use dosing cup that comes with bottle to get the best dose.
    • Imodium lowers your ability to focus, think, and react. Avoid activities that require you to be alert, such as driving a car or operating machinery, until you know how this medication affects you.
    • Check with your baby doctor before using if you're breastfeeding.
    • Ask your doctor before taking Imodium if you have a fever, liver problems, mucus in your stool or are taking antibiotics.
    • Don't use if you have blood in your stool or it's dark or black in color.
    • Stop using Imodium and call your doctor if you have pain, swelling or bulging in your belly or your symptoms get worse after 2 days. This could be serious.
    • Take at the first sign of discomfort.
    • You might need to take more than once a day but pay attention to the instructions on your bottle to avoid overdosing.
    • You need to separate Tums from some medications to avoid interactions.
    • If heartburn doesn't improve or lasts more than 2 weeks, talk to your doctor.
    • People with kidney disease on dialysis may need to take a lower dose or avoid use. Your doctor can do blood tests to see if it's safe to use.
    • Don't take if you have high blood calcium levels.
    Learn more
    More about ImodiumSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
    More about TumsSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert