Call 413.540.1234 to
schedule an appointment
CONCERN/EAP: 413.534.2625
Billing questions? Call: 413.540.1212
CRISIS: 413.733.6661

Health Policy & Advocacy
Resources
Basic InformationMore InformationLatest News
Calling All Blood Donors …Even Older Drugs Are Getting Steep Price Hikes, Study FindsAs Medical Marketing Soars, Is Regulation Needed?Radiation Doses From CT Scans Vary WidelyU.S. Leads Health Care Spending Among Richer Nations, But Gets LessIs Your State a Hotspot for Obesity-Linked Cancers?Health Tip: Choose the Right DoctorFDA Warns Companies on Dangerous, Unapproved Stem Cell TreatmentsMore U.S. Kids Dying From Guns, Car AccidentsRoad Rules on Smartphone Use Are Saving Bikers' Lives, TooAHA: Should Pacemakers, Defibrillators Be Recycled -- and Reused in Others?California Farm Tied to E. coli Outbreak Expands Recall Beyond Romaine LettuceHealth Tip: Use Medical Devices SafelyCalifornia Farm Implicated in Outbreak of E. coli Tied to Romaine LettuceFentanyl Now the No. 1 Opioid OD KillerHospitalizations Rising Among the HomelessElectronic Health Records Bogging Docs DownMore Are Seeking Mental Health Care, But Not Always Those Who Need It MostMillions of Americans Still Breathing Secondhand Smoke: ReportNew Approach to Opioid Crisis: Supervised Heroin Injection Programs?Many Americans Unaware of Promise of Targeted, 'Personalized' Medicine: PollAs Gun Violence Grows, U.S. Life Expectancy DropsMost Americans Lie to Their DoctorsOpioid Crisis, Suicides Driving Decline in U.S. Life Expectancy: CDCWant to Learn CPR? Try an Automated KioskHealth Surrogates Often in Dark About Loved One's WishesRestaurant 'Health Grade' Posters Could Mean Safer DiningSmoking Bans Might Help Nonsmokers' Blood PressureWarmer Winters, More Violent Crimes?Are Food Additives Good or Bad? Consumer Views VaryDrug Studies in Children Often Go Unfinished: StudyFDA Moves to Restrict Flavored E-Cig Sales, Ban Menthol CigarettesAgeism Costs Billions in Health Care DollarsAmerica Is Worried About Antibiotic ResistanceRed Cross Issues Urgent Call for Blood Ahead of the HolidaysUnder Pressure, Juul Withdraws Most Flavored E-Cigs From MarketMany Drugstores Won't Dispense Opioid Antidote as RequiredNew Cholesterol Guidelines Focus on Personalized ApproachAHA: Defibrillators Can Help Kids Survive Cardiac Arrest, TooFDA Will Ban Many Flavored E-CigarettesU.S. Smoking Rates Hit Record LowOnly a Quarter of Opioid Painkillers Taken After Most SurgeriesHome Health-Care Tests: Proceed With CautionFDA Takes on Flatulent CowsWhy Bystanders Are Less Likely to Give CPR to WomenCellphone Radiation Tied to Upped Odds for Cancer -- in RatsHealth Tip: FDA Discusses Possible Risks of Bodybuilding ProductsU.S. Hospitals Making Headway Against InfectionsAfter Mass Shootings, Blood Donations Can Go UnusedLead in Hair Dyes Must Go: FDA
Questions and AnswersLinksBook Reviews
Related Topics

Responding to Opioid Crisis, FDA Puts More Restrictions on Imodium

HealthDay News
by -- E.J. Mundell
Updated: Jan 30th 2018

new article illustration

TUESDAY, Jan. 30, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Increasingly, people addicted to opioid painkillers are using dangerously high doses of the diarrhea drug Imodium (loperamide), either to get high or to help ease withdrawal.

So, on Tuesday the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said it's putting new restrictions on the packaging of the medication, dubbed by some as "the poor man's methadone."

"When higher than recommended doses are taken we've received reports of serious heart problems and deaths with loperamide, particularly among people who are intentionally misusing or abusing high doses," FDA commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said in an agency news release.

Because opioid abusers are using the drug in greater numbers, the FDA is requesting that makers "change the way they label and package these drugs, to stem abuse and misuse," Gottlieb said.

The FDA already slapped a warning on OTC loperamide labeling in the spring of 2017, cautioning users about the dangers of misuse.

The latest changes relate to the drugs' packaging.

Specifically, packaging of Imodium should now only "contain a limited amount of loperamide appropriate for use for short-term ['Traveler's'] diarrhea according to the product label," Gottlieb said.

For example, that might mean a package would only contain eight 2-milligram capsules of the diarrhea drug in a blister pack, the FDA said.

The new rules will also seek to eliminate the sale of loperamide in large bottles -- sales that typically occur via the Internet, Gottlieb said.

"The abuse of loperamide requires the purchase of extremely large quantities," he noted, and "today's action is intended to change how the product is packaged, to eliminate these large volume containers. We know that many of the bulk purchases of these large volumes are being made online through major online web retailers."

One busy emergency room doctor said he's witnessed the problem firsthand, and "applauds" the FDA's latest move.

"I most often encounter patients who abuse loperamide either to get high or to self-treat symptoms of opioid withdrawal," said Dr. Robert Glatter, of Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. "Many people view it as low risk since they think it's only medicine to treat diarrhea."

"But those who abuse it to get high are gambling with their life, in essence," he said. "Simply put, escalating use may place you at risk for an overdose. An overdose of loperamide can make you stop breathing, drop your blood pressure, or even cause a fatal heart arrhythmia."

But Glatter said even more can be done to curb this new danger.

"It also starts with education, and informing parents and teens via social media platforms of the dangers of loperamide abuse," he said.

More information

There's more on the opioid abuse epidemic at the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse.