Diarrhea medication misused by opioid addicts - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Diarrhea medication misused by opioid addicts

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Medical professionals expressed concern Friday concern over the misuse of diarrhea medication.

Medications like Imodium are being used to get high by taking large doses.

Channel 3's Courtney Zieller spoke with Dr. Irfan Munawar of St. Francis Hospital about the issue.

Munawar said the medications are being misused by people who are already addicted to oxycodone and other opiods.

"Something like this is usually a product of desperation. They don't have money. They want to go the cheap route. They don't have access," said Munawar.

The diarrhea medications are easily available and can be accessed from places like drug stores, supermarkets and even gas stations.

"They may be going through withdrawal and they realize if I take immodium I'm going to do better or feel better," said Munawar.

The drug labels advise that people take no more than four pills a day.

Munawar said those who have used it to get high take over 100 pills at a time. The high from the medication feels similar to a high from an opioid.

"I think we probably should be heading into that direction and we are very close to a much bigger epidemic in regards to the anti-diarrhea drugs," said Munawar.

The FDA is aware of the issue and warns high doses can cause deadly heart problems.

They are also considering limiting access to drugs like Imodium and Loperamide.

Restrictions would include having to show an ID and sign at a pharmacy counter.

In New York, two people have recently died as a result of an overdose on the medications.

Side effects of these medications include sedation, tiredness and difficulty breathing.

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