How does it work?
Hidrasec capsules and granules for suspension contain the active ingredient racecadotril, which is a medicine used to treat diarrhoea.
Racecadotril is known as a pro-drug. Once inside the body it is broken down into the active ingredient thiorphan, which is an enkephalinase inhibitor. Enkephalinase is an enzyme found in the lining of the small intestine, which breaks down enkephalins. Enkephalins are naturally-occurring chemicals that bind to receptors in the intestine and reduce the amount of water and salts that are secreted into the intestine. Enkephalins and enkephalinase normally help to balance the fluid secretion in the gut.
Thiorphan works by binding to the enkephalinase enzyme, which prevents it from breaking down the enkephalins. This increases the levels of enkephalins in the gut, which helps to reduce the amount of fluid and salts secreted into the intestine. This makes the stools less watery and helps to control acute diarrhoea.
Acute diarrhoea makes you lose more fluids and salt than you usually would and can make you dehydrated. Although this medicine reduces the amount of fluid and salts that are lost in the stools, it only controls the diarrhoea symptoms and will not rehydrate you. It is therefore important that Hidrasec is used in combination with rehydration sachets (see below).
What is it used for?
- Acute diarrhoea in adults, children and infants over three months of age.
How do I take it?
- Adults over 18 years of age should take one Hidrasec capsule initially, regardless of the time of day. This should then be followed by one Hidrasec capsule taken three times a day, preferably before the main meals.
- Hidrasec children granules for suspension are used for children who weigh 13kg or more. The usual dose for children weighing between 13kg to 27kg is one sachet three times a day. For children weighing more than 27kg the dose is two sachets three times a day.
- Hidrasec infant granules for suspension are used for children who weigh less than 13kg. The usual dose for children weighing less than 9kg is one sachet three times a day. For children weighing between 9kg to 13kg the dose is two sachets three times a day.
- Hidrasec infant and children granules for suspension can be mixed with food, dispersed in a glass of water, or added to a feeding bottle for babies. The granules should be mixed well and given immediately after mixing.
- Treatment with Hidrasec should be continued until two normal stools are passed. However, if the diarrhoea has not got better after seven days of treatment you should go back to your doctor.
- Treatment with Hidrasec should be limited to seven days only. Long-term use should be avoided.
- If the diarrhoea contains yellow or greenish mucus or blood, or if you or your child also have a fever, you should tell your doctor before using this medicine. This is because the diarrhoea could be caused by a bacterial infection that will need treating and your doctor may not want you to use this medicine in this case.
- Acute diarrhoea makes you lose more fluids and salt than you usually would and can make you dehydrated. This medicine only treats the diarrhoea symptoms and will not rehydrate you. You should ensure that you drink plenty of fluids, and you may also want to take an oral rehydration therapy, which is a soluble powder containing sugars and salts, to help rehydrate you. This is particularly important for frail and elderly people and children. Rehydration salts can be bought from pharmacies or prescribed by your doctor.
Use with caution in
- People with decreased kidney function.
- People with decreased liver function.
- Children with diabetes (both Hidrasec children and infant granules for suspension contain sucrose).
- People with prolonged or uncontrolled vomiting, since the medicine may not be properly absorbed and thus less effective in this situation.
- This medicine has not been studied in people with diarrhoea caused by antibiotics, or people with long-term diarrhoea.
Not to be used in
- Children under three months old. (Hidrasec infant suspension is only suitable for babies over three months).
- Children with decreased kidney function.
- Children with decreased liver function.
- People with diarrhoea containing yellow or greenish mucus or blood, or who also have a fever – see warning section above.
- Hidrasec capsules contain lactose and should not be taken by people with rare hereditary problems of galactose intolerance, the Lapp lactase deficiency or glucose-galactose malabsorption.
- Hidrasec infant and children granules for suspension both contain sucrose and as a result are not suitable for children with rare hereditary problems of fructose intolerance, glucose-galactose malabsorption or sucrase-isomaltase insufficiency.
This medicine should not be used if you are allergic to any of its ingredients. Please inform your doctor or pharmacist if you have previously experienced such an allergy.
If you feel you or your child have experienced an allergic reaction, stop using this medicine and inform your doctor or pharmacist immediately.
Pregnancy and breastfeeding
Certain medicines should not be used during pregnancy or breastfeeding. However, other medicines may be safely used in pregnancy or breastfeeding providing the benefits to the mother outweigh the risks to the unborn baby. Always inform your doctor if you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, before using any medicine.
- This medicine should not be used during pregnancy as its safety has not been established in pregnant women. Seek medical advice from your doctor.
- It is not known if this medicine passes into breast milk, although this is unlikely because the medicine is only minimally absorbed into the bloodstream. The manufacturer recommends that it is not used by mothers who are breastfeeding.
Medicines and their possible side effects can affect individual people in different ways. The following are some of the side effects that are known to be associated with this medicine. Just because a side effect is stated here, it does not mean that all people using this medicine will experience that or any side effect.
Common (affect between 1 in 10 and 1 in 100 people)
Uncommon (affect between 1 in 100 and 1 in 1000 people)
- Flushing of the skin due to widening of the small blood vessels (erythema).
- Skin rash.
- Swelling of the face, tongue, lips or eyelids.
- Severe skin rash such as erythema multiforme.
- Tender red lumps under the skin, usually on the calves (erythema nodosum).
- Skin reactions such as rash, hives (urticaria), redness or itching.
- Severe swelling of lips, face, tongue or throat (angioedema).
The side effects listed above may not include all of the side effects reported by the medicine's manufacturer.
For more information about any other possible risks associated with this medicine, please read the information provided with the medicine or consult your doctor or pharmacist.
How can this medicine affect other medicines?
This medicine is not known to affect any other medicines. However, as with all medicines, you should tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are already taking any other medicines before taking this one as well. Similarly, check with your pharmacist before taking any new medicines in combination with this one.
Other medicines containing the same active ingredient
There are currently no other medicines in the UK that contain racecadotril as the active ingredient.