The U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned that taking more than the recommended dose of the popular diarrhea medicine Imodium (loperamide) can cause severe heart problems and even lead to death. Pharmacists worry that some with opioid addiction are turning to the low cost drug to reduce withdrawal symptoms or get high. "The majority of reported serious heart problems occurred in individuals who were intentionally misusing and abusing high doses of loperamide in attempts to self-treat opioid withdrawal symptoms or to achieve a feeling of euphoria," the agency said in its safety communication. The FDA received 48 adverse events related to Imodium, and while some overdoses were accidental, the majority of these issues stemmed from intentional abuse. Some adverse events linked to the medication include irregular heartbeats, heart attack, loss of consciousness and other serious heart problems. Of these cases, 10 ended in death, while 31 people ended up in the hospital. Symptoms of an overdose include fainting, rapid heartbeat or irregular rhythm and unresponsiveness. The maximum approved dose for over-the-counter use is eight milligrams a day and 16 milligrams for prescription use. People abusing the drug took up to 300 milligrams. About 2.1 million people addicted to or abusing powerful painkillers, and experts fear this seemingly harmless medication could contribute to the epidemic.
Find Out If You Qualify
Sign up for the latest news and updates from Drugwatch.com and be among the first to know about new safety information:
You will now receive updates from Drugwatch.