Drug Abusers Resorting to the Use of Imodium to Self-treat Opioid Withdrawal

Imodium Abuse

Imodium is a commonly known and used over-the-counter medication available at pharmacies across Canada to treat diarrhea, but there are fatal ways people are using this medicine.

In fact, recent studies have shown that some are using Imodium as a way to get high. The main ingredient in Imodium, loperamide, is an opioid that is much more accessible and cheaper to get than Methadone. At high doses, Imodium can actually result in similar effects as taking other opioids such as OxyContin and methadone.

The two case studies published in 2016 in the Annals of Emergency Medicine titled “Loperamide Abuse Associated with Cardiac Dysrhythmia and Death,” outlined how people are resorting to Imodium as an attempt to self-treat their opioid addictions.

The paper discusses the case studies of two patients with extensive history of substance abuse who died after attempting to self-treat their opioid addictions with huge amounts of loperamide.

Drug abusers to take up to 200 tablets a day to get high, which can cause your heart to stop. Some people abusing Imodium put a few hundred pills in a blender, make a smoothie out of it and drink it, which is dangerous because the drug is absorb more quickly.

Taking higher than recommended doses of Imodium is shown to cause serious heart problems that can lead to death. The challenge will be for doctors to monitor misuse and abuse of loperamide in patients.

Furthermore, the challenge for pharmacists across Canada will be to make their own determinations about possibly restricting or limiting easy access to Imodium by potentially making it a behind-the-counter product that customers must request from pharmacists before purchasing it.