The Food Drug Administration announced that it’s trying to limit the amount of anti-diarrhea pills in a box. These attempts are happening around the same time of the opioid crisis. Coincidence? I think not. It seems as if the world is slowly progressing to a state where people can’t be trusted to use harmless substances without searching for some sort of high. With the USA cracking down on the opioid crisis, it’s getting harder for addicts to use and abuse the stuff, but there are always loopholes. This specific loophole is found in any local drugstore. In an act of disparity, people are using an over the counter drug to get that opioid high they crave so much.
Loperamide is a commonly known drug sold by Johnson & Johnson labeled with the name Immodium, as well as under several other generic names. The drug is problematic once it enters the gut. It attaches to opioid receptors, and when there is too much of the chemical, the receptors are flooded. This creates a euphoric feeling that resembles the high you get from the restricted opioids. High doses are also used by people who want to wean themselves off of opioids without having to check into a rehab center for professional help.
While the over the counter drug can relieve symptoms of opioid withdrawal while providing a high, too much of it can cause serious risks to the heart, and even result in death. The drug is associated with 48 serious cases of cardiac injury. 31 of those cases required emergency trips to the hospital, and in ten of the cases, the people died. A majority of the cases are due to an intentional overdose of Immodium. These cases date from the year Imodium was released, 1976. There are almost certainly undocumented cases of the same health issues related to the drug. The scary part is that run-ins with health issues related to Imodium are mostly recorded after 2010. This goes to prove that opioid addiction and Imodium abuse is more prevalent in recent years.
As of now, the FDA has no actual intention to force Immodium to be a drug that is acquired strictly through prescription. However, the administration is aiming to reduce the number of pills in each anti-diarrhea box and increase the awareness of the dangers of the drug.