Imodium A-D for Opiate Withdrawal

As the opioid epidemic continues to impact the U.S., there has been more attention paid to the idea of using Imodium A-D for opiate withdrawal. Imodium A-D is an over-the-counter medication and while it is considered relatively safe in normal doses, there are some very important things to be aware of in the context of using Imodium A-D for opiate withdrawal.

Imodium for Opiate Withdrawal
Imodium A-D is a brand-name over-the-counter drug. The active generic ingredient is loperamide and it’s used primarily for the treatment of acute diarrhea, such as traveler’s diarrhea. Loperamide is also available as a prescription medication for conditions that cause chronic diarrhea. When someone uses Imodium A-D, it slows the activity of the intestines. This reduces the frequency of bowel movements and also makes them less watery. Imodium A-D is intended to be used as a short-term treatment. At normally recommended doses, there aren’t many side effects associated with its use.
It has been discovered in recent years that at extremely high doses, Imodium A-D can have effects similar to opioids (e.g., prescription painkillers or heroin). These effects would never happen at recommended therapeutic doses because Imodium A-D poorly crosses the blood-brain barrier. At doses of anywhere from 50 to 200 pills a day, however, it does cross that barrier. People use Imodium A-D for opiate withdrawal — and also, unfortunately, to get high from it.

Taking Imodium A-D for opiate withdrawal may be okay when specifically used to treat diarrhea. Diarrhea is one of the main symptoms of opiate withdrawal, but taking medication during withdrawal should be done only under the supervision of a physician. A dosage of Imodium A-D for opiate withdrawal shouldn’t exceed the listed recommended dose. People should be aware that using Imodium A-D for opiate withdrawal isn’t going to help with other side effects as long as it’s taken at normal doses. For example, while it may help with diarrhea, Imodium A-D doesn’t help with insomnia or anxiety, which are other common withdrawal symptoms.

For anyone considering the use of Imodium A-D as a replacement for opiates, the warnings are serious. High doses of Imodium A-D can cause sudden death from heart problems and depressed breathing. The risk of using high doses of Imodium A-D has become so serious that the FDA issued a black box warning for sudden death from heart problems.

There are a lot of people online asking how much Imodium A-D to take for opiate withdrawal. The answer here is that only a medical professional should provide this guidance. Taking Imodium A-D for opiate withdrawal can be complex. Imodium A-D can be helpful for diarrhea, but there can be deadly side effects if someone overdoses on it. For anyone attempting to detox from opioids at home using a medication like Imodium A-D, it’s important to be aware of the risks. The best option for opiate withdrawal is always doing so under a doctor’s supervision or in a medical detox facility.
Another detox protocol circulated online is the use of Zantac and Imodium A-D for opiate withdrawal. Zantac, also known by the generic name ranitidine, is an antihistamine that can help treat acid reflux and ulcers in the stomach and intestines. The combination of Imodium A-D and Zantac theoretically helps some people avoid opiate withdrawal symptoms. Anecdotally, the theory behind combining Zantac and Imodium A-D for withdrawal is that the Zantac can help prevent some of the side effects of Imodium A-D. People also believe the Zantac may help with other symptoms of withdrawal, such as runny nose or teary eyes. Again, there are serious risks of trying to self-medicate through opiate withdrawal and it’s not recommended for anyone trying to detox.

If you would like to learn more about addiction, medical detox or treatment, please call The Recovery Village. We work with people to develop personalized detox and treatment plans to help improve their chances of a successful recovery.

Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.