Best Anti-Diarrheal Pills for Emergencies

by Tommy Grant

Diarrhea is never welcome, but it can become dangerously deadly in survival situations. Diarrhea diseases cause more deaths than violence in our world today, and it’s more common in children and where resources are scarce. Luckily, we can spend a few bucks to grab some anti-diarrheal pills to help. There are plenty of brands, specific medication types, and dosages to consider.

This is where we come in. We’ve researched the best anti-diarrheal pills, compared them, and now the results are in: the overall best, an upgrade option, and a bulk stockpile solution. If you need to fix your gut quickly in an emergency, one of our picks will keep you put together.


Contents (Jump to a Section)


The Best Anti-Diarrheal Pills

Loperamide Hydrochloride

Simple, Inexpensive, and Effective

This cheap but effective pack of generic Imodium A-D gives you a targeted anti-diarrheal tablet with great value.

*Price at time of publishing; check for price changes or sales.

These generic-brand blister packs of Imodium A-D are effective and a great value. The blister packs break apart so you can split them up between your different first aid and survival kits.

The price paired with the simple effectiveness has them as the pill to beat.

Here is everything you get with these basic pills:

  • 24 tablets
  • 2mg Loperamide HCl
  • 1.4″ x 3.3″ x 3.5″
  • 0.6 ounces

With an unbeatable price and the highly effective LHCl, it’s easy to see why the Basic Care Loperamide Hydrochloride tablets top the rest.


Upgrade Anti-Diarrheal Pills

Pocket Pepto

Compact, Multi-Symptom, and Fast Acting

Conveniently portable and effective against a wide range of symptoms, these make sense in any survival kit.

*Price at time of publishing; check for price changes or sales.

Pepto is the jack of all trades when it comes to stomach issues, as the bismuth subsalicylate can address a whole range of symptoms. These are the tablets I currently keep in my own survival kits and EDC, and they haven’t let me down yet with their versatile symptom range.

Here is how this portable Pepto measures up:

  • 2-pack of 12 chewable tablets (24 total)
  • 262mg bismuth subsalicylate
  • 0.5″ x 0.5″ x 3.1″ (each tube)
  • 0.6 ounces (each tube)

If you are looking for diarrhea insurance in mobile kits or everyday carry, the Pocket Pepto Bismol Chewable Tablets are the best option with their convenient travel tubes.


Bulk Anti-Diarrheal Pills

HealthA2Z Bismuth

Basic, Efficient, and High Value

At less than 15 cents per tablet, these bottles are easy to stockpile and store for long-term emergencies.

*Price at time of publishing; check for price changes or sales.

With a dosage limit of 16 tablets per day limited to two days max, this bottle alone will cover at least four of the most severe diarrhea events imaginable. If you stock a few bottles, you should be covered for years even with the hygiene challenges that come during emergencies.

Here is how this bottle measures up:

  • 100 chewable tablets
  • 262mg bismuth subsalicylate
  • 1.75″ x 1.75″ x 3.6″
  • 2.3 ounces

If you are looking to stockpile some anti-diarrheal tablets, the HealthA2Z Bismuth tablets are the best option.


Everything We Recommend

Pocket Pepto

Conveniently portable and effective against a wide range of symptoms, these make sense in any survival kit.

Where to Buy

$11* at Amazon

*at time of reviewing

HealthA2Z Bismuth

At less than 15 cents per tablet, these bottles are easy to stockpile and store for long-term emergencies.

Where to Buy

$13* at Amazon

*at time of reviewing


The Pills We Compared

Our research narrowed the field down to several brands of diarrhea pills that we compared: Imodium, Pepto, HealthA2Z, Kaopectate, BHI, IBS Labs, and more.

You can see our full list of review criteria below in the What to Look For section, with an explanation for each. Almost all effective anti-diarrheal medications available over the counter are loperamide hydrochloride or bismuth subsalicylate. While targeted testing wasn’t practical, we’ve come to our conclusions after researching and discussing our own experience with the main types.

We’re always looking for new and better gear, so if you have anti-diarrheal pills that hold it all together, let us know in the comments. We review most of our tested gear annually so we can try to get it in the next roundup round and see if it will beat out our top picks.


What to Look For

The best anti-diarrheal tablets have a few features to look for:

  1. Value
  2. Effectiveness
  3. Symptoms Addressed
  4. Size/Weight
  5. Versatility

When you get the right blend of these, you can find the perfect tablets to give you an energy boost or to tackle a headache. Below, we break down what each of these features means for the brands that truly set themselves apart.

Value: Cost vs. Benefit

The amount of money you spend on something like a caffeine supplement shouldn’t blow out your entire budget. They are not especially expensive and come in a wide range of prices depending on the quantity you buy.

You can also use a wide range of drinks with caffeine in them, like coffee. I recommend and store coffee myself for daily consumption and use caffeine pills just for first aid applications.

You never want to spend too much money on one resource, even when it comes to first aid, energy supplements, or medication. It’s better to diversify your spending to make sure you are covered for a wide range of scenarios.

Effectiveness

Like many other medications, dosage is the main focus when it comes to effectiveness, but it doesn’t account for the entire performance. Absorption time and specific effects can vary by individual, by the type of pill or capsule used, and by additional ingredients.

The two main formulas used to tackle diarrhea have very different OTC tablet dose amounts:

  • Bismuth subsalicylate = 262 mg (Pepto Bismol)
  • Loperamide Hydrochloride = 2mg (Imodium A-D)

Loperamide hydrochloride addresses fewer symptoms but is approved for use with children 6 and up which can be a big help for grade-school parents.

Symptoms Addressed

Speaking of symptoms, it is nice when our anti-diarrhea medication can tackle more than just diarrhea. Loperamide hydrochloride (generic Imodium A-D) is a sniper rifle, addresses solely diarrhea- especially traveler’s diarrhea.

Bismuth subsalicylate (generic Pepto Bismol) is the shotgun, addressing multiple symptoms at once. This is nice because you often encounter multiple symptoms at once, so it can treat all of your gut ailments with one medication.

Besides diarrhea, these include:

  • Nausea
  • Heartburn
  • Indigestion
  • Upset Stomach

Whether you prefer the sniper or the shotgun approach may depend on your specific situation.

Size/Weight

The size of the two solutions is large as well. The loperamide hydrochloride is served in pill form with blister packs, letting them take up hardly any room at all in your survival kit.

The Pocket Pepto is packed densely in a tube but still has a larger profile than the small-pill blister pack. Every ounce can matter in EDC and mobile survival kits, so it is another tradeoff to keep in mind.

Versatility

The calcium and alkalinity in bismuth sulfate can be used for ailments beyond your digestive tract. When in liquid form, it can help relieve itching when slathered on itches, bites, and even poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac rashes.

It can also help soothe mouth sores and as a cleansing peel when you apply it, let it dry, and then peel off the residue. You can liquify bismuth sulfate tablets easily by reconstituting them in water and reducing it down.

Keep an open mind when it comes to resourcefulness and you’ll be able to figure out a solution for nearly any situation.


Plants and Supplements for Diarrhea

Diarrhea is a symptom and your body’s reaction to a wide range of threats ranging from food poisoning to CBRN attacks. Sometimes, letting the diarrhea run its course is the best option to remove contaminants, bacteria, or viruses from your gut.

Preventing diarrhea with good hygiene, sanitation, and clean food and water can go a long way too. These are all made more difficult during emergencies and survival situations, so you’ll often see bouts of diarrhea more common.

Additionally, certain plants and supplements can help with diarrhea prevention and alleviating symptoms:

  • Astragalus
  • Barberry
  • Bilberry
  • Bromelain
  • Fiber
  • Ginger
  • Goldenseal
  • Lactobacillus Acidophilus
  • Peppermint
  • Psyllium
  • Quercetin
  • Slippery Elm
  • Zinc

Many of these are good to mix into your diet to help your gut health regardless.


Who Needs Anti-Diarrheal Pills?

Almost everyone can use anti-diarrheal pills, and most people should be familiar with them. The NIH estimates an annual count of 2.39 billion cases of diarrhea making it right up there with common colds as far as frequency goes.

Having the medications to tackle the symptoms just makes sense unless you want to spend unnecessary time on the toilet when you are needed in emergencies.

Anti-diarrheal pills are suggested for this kit:

They are one of the few medications we also suggest outside of the first aid kit for a variety of other survival kits:

With their low cost, it makes sense to add at least a few to the majority of your kits.

How We Review Products: We research thoroughly before selecting the best products to review. We consult experts in the field for a better understanding of what makes the gear great. Hours on end are spent field testing gear in stressful conditions. We assign performance criteria and impartially rate each tested item. You can support us through our independently chosen links, which can earn us a commission at no extra cost to you. After our review process, some of the items reviewed end up in our giveaways.

Sources and References

All of our experience and the testing we do to determine the best anti-diarrheal pills are useless without listing our research sources and references. We leaned on these for the book knowledge that we paired with our hands-on testing and practical survival experience:

Awouters, F., et al. (1983). Pharmacology of Antidiarrheal Drugs. Annual Review of Pharmacology and Toxicology. Volume 23. Pages 279 – 301. (Source)

Glass, R. MD, et al. (1991). Estimates of morbidity and mortality rates for diarrheal diseases in American children. The Journal of Pediatrics. Volume 118. Issue 4. Pages S27 – S33. (Source)

Yakoob, M., et al. (2011). Preventive zinc supplementation in developing countries: impact on mortality and morbidity due to diarrhea, pneumonia, and malaria. BMC Public Health. Volume 11. Issue 3. (Source)


The Final Word

Anti-diarrheal pills are useful for emergencies and survival kits. You don’t want a sore stomach taking you out of commission when you are needed most.

Here are a few other gear reviews and guides our subscribers have found helpful:

We presented quite a lot of information, but as always: if you have any questions let us know and we would be happy to help. Our testing found the Loperamide Hydrochloride Tablets to be the best solution given their value, effectiveness, symptoms addressed, size/weight, and versatility.

Keep exploring, stay prepared, and be safe.


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