14. Medication Considerations


The patient is able to discuss special medication considerations.

Individuals with an ileostomy should be aware of enteric coated or sustained released preparations. Enteric coated or sustained release drugs may not be effective because such drugs can pass unabsorbed through the intestinal tract. Products which can be either crushed, chewed, swallowed or injected are best.

Specific Drugs and their Effect


Some broad-spectrum antibiotics that are effective against a wide range of bacteria can alter the normal bacteria in the bowel and may cause diarrhea or yeast infections on the skin around the stoma. Antibiotics may also cause the stool to be more odorous.


Generally, supplemental vitamins are unnecessary unless the patient is debilitated with significant weight loss. Vitamins can cause a strong odour in the stool and must be injected (Vitamin B12) to be effective.


Diuretics should be used with great care because salt imbalance and dehydration can result from additional fluid loss.


A person cannot become constipated with an ileostomy. Laxatives, enemas, rectal tubes or rectal thermometers should not be used. If a person were not passing stool or flatus, the concern would be a blockage.


There have been no reported problems with the absorption of the birth control pill in individuals with ileostomies. Magnesium-containing antacids may produce diarrhea and aluminium hydroxide may slow the bowel and produce constipation in individuals with colostomies. Analgesics that contain codeine will slow the action of the bowel.

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