Loperamide abolishes exercise-induced orocecal liquid transit acceleration

William F. Keeling, Alon Harris, Bruce J. Martin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Scopus citations


Previous work in our laboratory has found that mild physical activity accelerates mouth-to-large intestinal transit of lactulose in a mixed liquid meal. Because loperamide is commonly used as an antidiarrheal agent, we wondered if it would blunt the orocecal transit acceleration provoked by mild exercise. We investigated this equation in 12 healthy persons by comparing orocolonic liquid transit at rest and in mild exercise. Each subject ingested 8 mg loperamide 1 hr prior to study under both resting and exercise conditions. With loperamide treatment, exercise (walking at 5.6 km/hr) failed to hasten increased H2 excretion (mean transit time 72±12 min at rest, 90±15 min in exercise;P=NS). This result contrasts sharply with previously reported controls: loperamide completely abolished exercise-induced orocecal transit acceleration (-23±5 min in controls +18±13 min with loperamide;P<0.05). Compared with these same controls, resting transit was not significantly slowed by the drug, while transit in exercise was retarded (64±5 min in controls, 90±15 min with loperamide;P=0.06). Loperamide left unchanged the heart rate and oxygen uptake rises associated with exercise. In summary, by showing that loperamide blocks an exercise effect on the upper gut, these results suggest that the drug might prove effective in treating some gut symptoms induced by physical activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1783-1787
Number of pages5
JournalDigestive diseases and sciences
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 1993


  • β-endorphin
  • cortisol
  • exercise
  • gastrointestinal motility
  • loperamide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology

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