Diarrhea is referred to as a condition marked by frequent, loose watery stools. Anti diarrheal drugs are used to treat sudden diarrhea and possess the mechanism of slowing down the movement of the gut. This helps to reduce the number of bowel movements and also make the stools less watery. It is referred to as chronic diarrhea if it lasts for more than two weeks. Various causes of diarrhea can be a virus such as rotavirus, hepatitis, bacterium such as E. coli, Shigella and parasites such as those causing amoebiasis and giardiasis.
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Anti diarrheal drugs also help in treating the ongoing diarrhea in people with inflammatory bowel disease. Some drugs help in reducing the amount of discharge in patients with ileostomy. Several nonmedical conditions can also cause diarrhea. These include indigestion, surgery such as removal of gall bladder, certain tumors, and inflammation in the intestinal tract, amongst others. Symptoms of diarrhea include abdominal bloating, cramps, nausea, vomiting, watery stools, and sometimes weight loss, fever and presence of blood or mucus in the stools. Clinical types of diarrhea are acute watery diarrhea, acute bloody diarrhea and persistent diarrhea.
Most of the episodes of diarrhea are known to resolve with simple dietary modifications and may not require treatment. However, in case of severe diarrhea, laboratory evaluation is required which includes blood tests, and stool specimen evaluation to identify the type of diarrhea. Endoscopic examinations help in detecting the etiology of chronic diarrhea. Various other diagnostic tests include double balloon enteroscopy, capsule endoscopy, radiographic studies such as ultrasound and CT scan.
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The global anti diarrheal drugs market can be segmented based on drug class, brand and geography. Drug class segments of the market are mucosal protectants and adsorbents such as kaolin-pectin and activated charcoal, motility modifying drugs such as anticholinergics and opiates, antimicrobial therapy, non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and anti toxins. Over-the-counter anti diarrheal drugs include Pepto-Bismol, Imodium A-D, Kaopectate, and others. Anti-mobility agents such as Loperamide are the most commonly used drug class to treat chronic diarrhea.
Geographically, the global anti diarrheal drugs market can be segmented into four major regions, namely North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific and Rest of the World. Acute diarrhea is one of the most commonly reported illnesses in the United States. According to the WHO, diarrhea is the second leading cause of death, especially in children less than 5 years of age. Prevention of the diarrheal disease can be achieved by drinking of safe water coupled with adequate hygiene and sanitation.
Higher prevalence rates of diarrheal disease in developing countries have been observed due to unhygienic and improper sanitation procedures. Moreover, diarrhea is known to be a major cause of malnutrition in children, since the disease deprives the child of the nutrition required for their proper growth. Various other measures undertaken to treat the diarrheal disease include rehydration therapies, administration of zinc supplements, nutrient rich food coupled with consultation by health professional.
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Introduction of anti diarrheal drugs for HIV/AIDS such as Fulyzaq (crofelemer) by Glenmark Pharmaceuticals are expected to drive the growth of the market in the near future. Anti diarrheal help in controlling severe symptoms however are contra-indicated in patients with fever or bloody diarrhea. Various side effects associated with anti-diarrheal drugs include mouth dryness, dizziness and drowsiness. Certain severe side effects may include stomach pain, vomiting, constipation, nausea and decrease in appetite. Key players contributing to the global anti diarrheal drugs market include Actelion, Lupin, GSK, Glenmark Pharmaceuticals, Perrigo, and Pfizer, Inc.