Imodium Addiction and Abuse

Imodium Addiction Hotline

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Imodium is the brand name of the generic drug loperamide. Imodium is available over-the-counter and is used to treat sudden diarrhea by slowing movement of the gut. Imodium can help reduce the number of bowel movements and make stools more solid. The drug can be used for conditions like traveler’s diarrhea as well as inflammatory bowel disease. Imodium only treats symptoms and does not cure the disease or the causes of diarrhea. Imodium is used orally and adults are instructed to take no more than eight milligrams in a 24-hour period, unless otherwise instructed by a physician.

When someone is treating diarrhea with Imodium, they should be sure to drink plenty of fluids and electrolytes, and watch for signs of dehydration. If diarrhea doesn’t improve after two days, the condition gets worse, or if new symptoms appear, the allficted person should contact their physician or seek medical care. While Imodium is a commonly used medication, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recently issued warnings about its potential for abuse. Imodium is considered to be safe within recommended doses but, when taken at high doses, it can be dangerous or deadly.

Imodium Addiction | What Is Imodium and Can You Get Addicted to It?
Imodium is primarily used for the treatment of diarrhea but, in some cases, it’s also used to reduce discharge in people who have had an ileostomy. It can be used to treat both acute and ongoing diarrhea. Imodium does have some possible side effects. Side effects may include constipation, drowsiness or dizziness. Severe side effects of Imodium that require immediate medical attention include nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, uncomfortable feelings of fullness in the abdomen, changes in heartbeat or fainting. People with certain medical conditions should not use Imodium. These conditions include abdominal pain without diarrhea or obstruction of the bowel.

One of the most serious side effects of Imodium is called QT prolongation. This is a condition which affects heart rhythm that can cause symptoms, such as an irregular or fast heartbeat, or severe dizziness. People should tell their physician if they have existing heart problems or a family history of heart issues before taking Imodium. Having low levels of potassium or magnesium can also increase the risk of QT prolongation.

What Does Imodium Do?

Imodium works by slowing the movement and contractions of the intestine when they are overactive due to irritation. The contents of a person’s gut are pushed through the intestines at a certain speed. When functioning normally, the movement of intestines allows for electrolyte reabsorption, which promotes firmer and less frequent passing of stools. When stools move too quickly the result is diarrhea, which can also lead to dehydration.

Despite the fact that Imodium is a commonly used medication available for purchase over-the-counter, it is increasingly being abused. As the opioid epidemic continues, people are using Imodium to get high when opioids are not available. When Imodium is used in high doses, it can create effects in the body that are similar to those that opioids give. Unfortunately, the incredibly high doses that are usually required to achieve these effects can lead to overdose and death. Along with using Imodium to get high, some people use it in order to self-medicate their opioid withdrawal symptoms. Recreational use of Imodium continues to grow because the drug is so readily available.

Can You Get Addicted to Imodium?

Imodium is considered to be an opioid agent. Even though it’s not exactly an opioid, when taken in large doses it binds to the same receptors as opioids. According to a study published in the Annals of Emergency Medicine in 2016, this causes Imodium to act similarly to drugs like heroin and oxycodone. The large doses required for this effect could be anywhere from 50 to 300 pills a day, and it’s possible to buy 400 tablets for under $10. So, due to its potential effects and the fact that people struggling with opioid addiction are abusing Imodium, a person can easily become addicted to the drug. There is a misconception that because something is legal, it’s safe. While Imodium is safe at recommended doses, it’s very unsafe at high doses which are often taken to achieve the opioid-like effects.

In response to the increasing number of people abusing Imodium, the FDA has started asking the drug manufacturers to change their packaging. The FDA is currently recommending that manufacturers of loperamide, the generic name of Imodium, add a warning label which explains the potential for abuse and addiction. In the face of Imodium addiction and Imodium overdoses, the FDA has also been working with distributors to limit the quantities sold, especially online.

Using Imodium to self-treat opioid withdrawal symptoms is incredibly risky as well. Opioid withdrawal can be uncomfortable and difficult to deal with, but any time someone is trying to self-treat symptoms, they are putting themselves at risk. The risk of an Imodium overdose can be more dangerous than experiencing the symptoms of opioid withdrawal, and can result in death. Rather than trying to self-treat withdrawal, it’s important for people addicted to opioids to work with professionals who can help alleviate the symptoms with approved medical interventions.

If you or a loved one is struggling with opioid addiction or an Imodium addiction, please reach out to us at The Recovery Village. Sometimes just having your questions answered can be helpful, and we are available to provide you with the information you need to make a change in your own life or help a loved one take the next step.

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