July 5, 2016 – Loperamide Abuse


Anchor lead:  People are using the over the counter medication Imodium as an opiate substitute, Elizabeth Tracey reports.

People who are addicted to opiate medications have been turning to the over the counter medication called loperamide as a legal and easily obtained substitute, but the consequences can be deadly.  Eric Strain, a drug abuse expert at Johns Hopkins, describes the situation.

Strain: Loperamide which is marketed primarily as Imodium, is a common over the counter medication that’s used for treating diarrhea. There are now these case reports coming out that there are these people taking massive amounts of Imodium or loperamide, in order to get the opiate high effect you can see with it.  There’s a couple of reasons why that’s a bad thing.  First of all you’re going to become very constipated potentially, which could be life threatening.  There’s the thought that there could also be cardiac toxicity from these high doses, there might be some deaths now that have occurred due to that.   :33

Strain says those who are trying to stop using opiates have a number of options that result in much less risk that large doses of loperamide.  At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.