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FDA cracking down on anti-diarrhea drug Imodium because of opiate side effects

| Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2018, 11:45 a.m.
Imodium
Imodium
Imodium

In an effort to combat the opioid crisis, The Food and Drug Administration announced plans Tuesday to place restrictions on the packaging of Imodium AD medication sold over the counter.

Imodium AD, used to treat short-term bouts of diarrhea, contains loperamide, a drug with opiate side effects. High doses of the drug can flood the brain's receptors and produce a feeling of exhilaration akin to other opioids.

The FDA said abuse of loperamide has been increasing and recommended Imodium packaging be limited to "eight 2-milligram capsules in blister packaging."

Loperamide is sometimes referred to as "poor man's methadone," according to a Forbes report .

"When used at extremely high and dangerous doses, it's seen by those suffering from opioid addiction as a potential alternative to manage opioid withdrawal symptoms or to achieve the euphoric effects of opioid use," FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in a statement.

The FDA said it is planning to reach out to online loperamide distributors to ask them to take voluntary steps to address the abuse issue. Also, the FDA said the new packaging should limit sales. More than 11.5 million Americans abused prescription opioids in 2017, with more than 40 people dying every day, the FDA said.

Suzanne Elliott is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at selliott@tribweb.com or via Twitter @41Suzanne.

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