Addicts Who Can’t Get Painkillers Turning To Anti-Diarrhea Pills “Poor Man’s Methadone”

The Food and Drug Administration is asking manufacturers of anti-diarrhea medications to update their packaging to eliminate abuse of the over-the-counter pills.

Regulators said there are growing concerns about the abuse of Imodium A-D and similar anti-diarrhea treatments being abused.

The maximum recommended daily does is four 2-milligram tablets. Taken in larger quantities, the FDA says they can cause dangerous irregular heartbeats and mild highs.  The products are readily available without a prescription at drugstores and many retail establishments.

A key ingredient is Loperamide. It is nicknamed the “poor man’s methadone.”  People with addiction to opioids are turning to Loperamide medication because it is cheaper and easier to obtain.

Last month, the FDA asked manufacturers to voluntarily change their packaging to contain only enough anti-diarrhea medication for short-term use.  For example, instead of selling in bulk, the FDA recommended companies repackage pills for a two day treatment and place the pills in blister packs so they must be unpeeled for each single dose.

If this doesn’t work, the FDA may consider requiring Imodium and other brands, including generics, be placed behind the counter and impose other restrictions.

Deaths from loperamide overdoses have been steadily increasing since 2016.