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What Is Diosmectite?

By C.B. Fox
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Diosmectite is a medication that is used to treat of severe diarrhea in humans and animals. Though it is not approved for use around the world, and is unavailable in the United Kingdom and the United States, it is considered to be safe for use and is frequently administered to young children and infants as well as to adults. By absorbing excess water from the intestinal tract, diosmectite is able to quickly and effectively treat diarrhea. It has also been known to relieve inflammation in the digestive system and can also help to rid the body of certain viruses or bacteria.

A type of clay, diosmectite is made up of aluminum, magnesium, and silicon. It occurs naturally and is a common treatment for gastrointestinal illnesses in many parts of the world. Like other clays, diosmectite binds to water and helps solidify solid waste in the intestine.

When used properly, there are very few problems associated with the use of diosmectite. This compound is considered safe for infants to take and has a low instance of side effects. It is relatively mild in its effects on the digestive system and can treat diarrhea without interfering with the normal contractions of the stomach and intestinal tract, so there is little risk of developing constipation or cramping with the use of this medication. It is possible for it to interfere with other chemicals, so it is important for a patient to notify a doctor if there are any other medications being taken before beginning treatment.

Studies in the 2000s have shown that diosmectite is able to reduce the duration of severe diarrhea as well as decrease the amount of loose stool that passes through a person's digestive system. In most cases, patients show a marked improvement within a couple of days, though symptoms may lessen considerably just after treatment is started. Though diosmectite is usually an effective anti-diarrheal, patients who experience severe symptoms for longer than a week after beginning treatment should consult with a healthcare professional.

In addition to its ability to treat general cases of gastrointestinal illness, diosmectite is known to be particularly effective in the treatment of cases that are caused by rotavirus. This virus is a serious health threat to children around the world, especially those in developing nations, and is known to cause extremely severe diarrhea, which, left untreated, can lead to death. The ability of the diosmectite clay to absorb viruses and bacteria allows it to rid the digestive tract of these invaders while it lessens the symptoms of the illness.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By anon995847 — On Jun 01, 2016

"is unavailable in the United Kingdom and the United States." It is, its just under a different name, "white montmorillonite."

By anon992620 — On Sep 20, 2015

I am told it is not licensed in UK because of the aluminium content.

By anon969081 — On Sep 07, 2014

The reason it has not been approved in the US and UK is quite simple, and is the same as all other restrictions and bans on natural/alternative remedies: Big Pharma imposed sanctions on what they see as a real alternative to their monopoly over our health and their profit margins, which needless to be said keep growing each year more and more.

By anon349036 — On Sep 22, 2013

Diosmectite (Smecta) works brilliantly. When I had acute food poisoning I was admitted to hospital, received amongst others a saline drip, antibiotics and smecta. There are dosage instructions and was discharged with instructions to continue taking it for up two days afterwards. When my infant was ill the GP prescribed smecta as well.

By lluviaporos — On Aug 13, 2013

@indigomoth - The other thing to be aware of, particularly if someone decides to try this for themselves, is that natural remedies are very difficult to control properly.

It says in the article that this is safe at the right dosage. But how can the person using the clay be sure that it's concentrated in the right dose? I don't know much about this particular medication and maybe it's available in a processed form, but I know that people often try to get things from nature and end up either using way too much, or too little. There's also always the chance that it's contaminated with something else.

Which is not to say that it doesn't have a place. It just needs to be used with care.

By indigomoth — On Aug 13, 2013

@Ana1234 - It sounds like it's a natural treatment, coming from a natural material and there's no reason for anyone to pay for it to go through the process that would gain approval. Most of the time in the US or the UK if someone has serious diarrhea and needs treatment for it (which is much more rare than in some other countries) there are medications they can buy to treat it, or they can be hospitalized. Those medications got approval because someone knew they could make money out of them and pushed them through the process.

Natural remedies don't get pushed through that process because there's not much money to be made from something that can be dug up out of the average garden.

It might also just be a case of people not being that aware of it. It sounds like a very good thing to be aware of in countries where water-borne diseases are common and people die from gastrointestinal distress all the time.

By Ana1234 — On Aug 12, 2013

I wonder why this hasn't been approved for use in the US or the UK. It sounds miles better than similar anti-diarrheal medications I've heard of, which basically just treat the symptoms but do nothing about the underlying cause of the sickness.

It sounds like the kind of thing that could be very useful, so why hasn't it been approved?

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