Mixing Imodium and Alcohol: Side Effects, Interactions And Blackouts
Most people have heard of or even used the common over-the-counter drug Imodium. The generic, active ingredient in Imodium is loperamide. This medication is used to treat diarrhea. It slows the intestinal tract, reducing the number of bowel movements a person experiences. Imodium also makes stools less watery. Imodium is available over-the-counter, and prescription versions are available as well. Imodium is considered to be a safe medicine for most people. If any side effects occur, they’re usually mild and may include dizziness and drowsiness.
The problem with Imodium isn’t its therapeutic use. The problem is its use to replace opioids or to prevent opioid withdrawal symptoms. At a normal dose, while Imodium is similar to opioid drugs, it can’t cross the blood-brain barrier. People don’t feel high from taking the recommended dose of Imodium. In fact, they’re not likely to feel much of anything aside from diarrhea relief. The unique and dangerous element of Imodium is that at very high doses, it can cross into the brain. In doing so, Imodium can cause euphoria and many of the effects of opioids. Loperamide has become known as the “poor man’s methadone.” The misuse of this common drug is becoming more frequent as it’s more difficult to obtain prescription opioids.
The FDA is asking manufacturers of loperamide products to change their packaging. The FDA wants packaging of loperamide products to reflect the risks of using high doses of this medication. The FDA is also pushing for online retailers that sell Imodium and loperamide in bulk to find ways to address the problem and work to make it less accessible. There are some efforts to make loperamide products only available behind the pharmacists’ counter as well. The risks of using high doses of Imodium can range from intestine stoppage and urine retention to sudden cardiac problems that can be fatal.
Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant. When used in large amounts, people experience intoxication and sedation. When alcohol is mixed with certain other substances, it can be very dangerous. Imodium, when used at high doses, can also be a central nervous system depressant. If someone were to mix alcohol and normal amounts of Imodium, the side effects probably wouldn’t be severe. The alcohol would likely just heighten the common side effects of Imodium. For example, someone might feel really sleepy or dizzy. Someone who used alcohol and a normal amount of Imodium shouldn’t drive or do anything that requires mental alertness. The biggest problem is when alcohol and Imodium are mixed at high levels. Since both depress the central nervous system, both can also depress breathing and cause changes in heart rate. The risk of overdosing on Imodium is high on its own. If alcohol is brought into the equation, the risks go up even more.
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