Drug abusers space taking the over-the-counter drug Imodium, designed come treat diarrhea, to ease their withdrawal symptoms and also to gain high.

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'It can reason your love to protect against ... All of sudden they simply drop dead,' says drug safety and security researcher



Nardine Nakhla, a lecturer in ~ the school of pharmacy in ~ the university of Toronto, claims Imodium have to be placed behind the counters of drugstores to avoid abuse. (Kas Roussy/benidormclubdeportivo.org)
A well-known drug that promises rapid relief from diarrhea is worrying doctors and emergency room staff since of the attention high it gives opioid abusers.

The over-the-counter medication Imodium, whose main ingredient, loperamide, is an opioid, is cheap and also easy to buy at a drugstore. It's obtainable in bulk at Walmart and Costco.

"Drug users, opioid seekers, they are desperate," says Nardine Nakhla, a lecturer at the faculty that pharmacy in ~ the university of Toronto.

"They require this medication to aid with the withdrawal, or to attain that euphoric state. Therefore they overlook the warning and also still use the medicine if it way they acquire their fix."

Imodium is safe as soon as taken as directed. The best recommended daily dose is 16 milligrams, or eight tablets.


'We are starting to see much more and an ext people comes to hospital or just dying suddenly at home,' claims Dr. David Juurlink around Imodium abuse. (benidormclubdeportivo.org)

"It's been likened to a bad man's methadone", claims Dr. David Juurlink, a drug security researcher at Sunnybrook Hospital. "At high doses, that will reason effects choose methadone or oxycontin. The problem is the doses you need to attain that is really, yes, really dangerous."

Juurlink says its not uncommon for medicine abusers to take approximately 200 tablet computers a work to acquire high.

"It can cause your heart to stop. It's the type of thing human being can carry out for main or month at a time, v no symptoms at all, then unexpectedly they just drop dead," states Juurlink.

He says people abusing this drug will placed a few hundred pills in a blender, do a smoothie and also drink it. "That's especially dangerous since you absorb the drug an extremely quickly."

At Vancouver's St. Paul's Hospital, Dr. Chris DeWitt calls an Imodium overdose a "double whammy."

"It can cause slow breathing or also stopping breathing, comparable to various other opioids. However it can also cause straight effects ~ above the heart."


Dr. Chris DeWitt states a loperamide overdose is a 'double whammy' because it can stop a person's breathing and also increase heart palpitations. (benidormclubdeportivo.org)

On net forums, medicine abusers have actually been talking around the "lope cocktail" for number of years. One writes that Imodium may be his "new best friend." another says his loperamide high "almost eliminated me a pair times v crazy push in my head." 

In the U.S, the variety of calls to toxicity centres have doubled between 2010 and 2015. Several world have passed away of loperamide overdoses. The alarming trend triggered the Food and Drug administration to concern a security alert last year warning that higher than recommended sheep of Imodium can reason serious heart troubles that can lead to death.

The Ontario poison Centre reports only a "couple that cases" the Imodium poisoning, but its clinical director, Dr. Margaret Thompson, can't say whether those involved one overdose or a death because of patient confidentiality.



Juurlink says the small variety of cases doesn't call the totality story.

"We are beginning to see much more and much more people coming to hospital or just dying suddenly at house courtesy that this drug that most of united state perceive together pretty innocuous."

 A soon to it is in released review co-authored by Juurlink advises Canada's emergency room physicians to watch for increasing misuse and also abuse of loperamide, with patients suffering from "loperamide-induced cardiac toxicity."

It's a difficulty for doctors because the go-to antidote Naloxone works to reverse an opioid overdose but can't settle heart problems caused by this medication. Juurlink says medical professionals sometimes have to resort come "Hail mary therapies."

Affected people have "grossly abnormal" electrocardiograms, he says. "When a person has actually that kind of ECG, us don't have actually a magic medicine that we deserve to just provide to reverse it."

Imodium is widely available and cheap in drugstores and grocery stores. (Kas Roussy/benidormclubdeportivo.org)

Health Canada says it's conscious of health and wellness warnings because that Imodium in the U.S. The firm says it has conducted a preliminary testimonial of the issue and has not uncovered evidence of a comparable problem here, however it will monitor the safety and security of the drug.

In a Toronto drugstore, Nakhla says she believes more needs come be done to prevent Imodium abuse.

"I think pharmacists have to be adequately security patients who space coming in requesting this type of medication," she said. "They must think around further restricting the revenue of this through placing it behind the counter where they will be in contact with the individual that will it is in purchasing it."

Juurlink agreed.

"If friend couldn't just walk in a drugstore and for $20 walk the end with enough of the tablets to obtain high and possibly death you, ns think that would certainly be a good thing," he said.

Getting high turn off Imodium

4 year ago
There are farming concerns around the typical over-the-counter medication since of abuse by drug addicts and also the hazard of sudden death 2:13


Kas Roussy

Senior Reporter

Kas Roussy is a an elderly reporter through the health unit at benidormclubdeportivo.org News. In her more than 30 years with benidormclubdeportivo.org, Kas’s reporting has actually taken her approximately the world to covering news in nations including Pakistan and also Afghanistan, Chile, Haiti and also China, where she to be the bureau producer.

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