abusing diarrhea medicine, limit on loperamide

Sometimes the FDA takes actions that make people nervous. Concerns about abuse of the anti-diarrhea drug loperamide (Imodium) have the agency considering restrictions on this over-the-counter product. And that has some folks worried about how they will cope without it.

Imodium for Irritable Bowel Syndrome:

Q. I’ve read that the FDA is going to make it harder for people to buy Imodium. This is bad news for people like me with irritable bowel syndrome (diarrhea).

I have controlled my symptoms for years with one Imodium tablet per day. Without it, I need to be near a bathroom within 20 minutes of eating, and I need to stay seated for 10 to 20 minutes. Not fun.

This has been a cheap and easily available drug for IBS-D sufferers. I guess I need to stock up now before it becomes both expensive and hard to find.

What Is Imodium?

A. Loperamide (Imodium A-D) controls diarrhea by slowing the muscular contractions of the lower digestive tract. The agency wants to limit OTC dosage packs to eight pills, enough to treat acute diarrhea for two days.

Some people have been using high doses of loperamide to ease opioid withdrawal symptoms. Others have abused the drug in an effort to get high. It takes such high doses that people may experience irregular heart rhythms or cardiac arrest.

We have heard from many readers who suffer from chronic diarrhea. They rely on loperamide to be able to work or travel. Like you, they worry that the new regulations could raise the price and complicate their lives.

More Stories from Readers:

A.M. is frustrated by people who make it hard for others:

“Once again, drug abusers make it difficult for people who really need it.”

Carol says the new FDA plan would impact her life:

“If I have to limit my loperamide intake ( 1 per day), I would never be able to leave my house.”

Sura agrees with Carol:

“This is ridiculous. As an Irritable Bowel sufferer I need it often if I have to leave the house at certain times. I use loperamide when I travel almost every day.”

Donna in North Carolina says this drug is essential:

“My husband has an ileostomy due to ulcerative colitis/Crohn’s so he is prescribed loperamide. He can take up to 9 pills/day. Without it he would become dehydrated quickly because of the watery stool.”

What Do You Think?

The FDA wants to limit loperamide packages to 8 pills, enough for two days of treatment. Share your thoughts on this plan below in the comment section.

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  1. Nancy

    I also have IBS-D and take generic Loperamide, one a day, for maintenance. I am just now finding out that it is being taken off the shelf. This is horrible for me. I am 70 and have had IBS-D since I was 20, and loperamide is the only thing that has helped me, made it so that I can actually have a life. I am scared.

  2. Kathy
    Nashville Tennessee

    I have an ileo-anal jpouch due to FAP. I have controlled the diarrhea with lopermide 2mg associated with this for 24 years. The recommendation is 8 per day. Yes that is very high, but a jpouch is very difficult to controI. I used to get a month’s worth at Walmart for less than $25 With these new government restrictions, I can’t get put 8 pills at a time, so I got my doctor to write a prescription so I can get a month’s worth. When I went to the hospital’s outpatient pharmacy, they wanted to charge me $313…. for something that was less than $25 a month or two ago. Of course, my prescription insurance would not cover it since it is OTC. Since I am an employee at this university, they were willing to cut the price to what they paid which was $76.80. They said the manufacture recently increased their prices. My only option is to get a prescription for lomotil which has a scheduled V controlled substance in it & stay “drugged” all the time.

  3. Nancy

    Government wants to limit Imodium, to 8 pills per pkg? No way. I have IBS and have to take one of these an hour before I eat twice a day. Have been doing this for around 40 years????? Let the dimwits that want to try getting high on this stuff just not be able to poop because they do this. Crazy

  4. Ivan
    Alpharetta Ga.

    I have had IBS-d for years. Taking loperamide is the only medicine I have found to slow the colon. I did take a drug called Lotronex back in 2008. UHC would not pay for it after a year saying Studies had not been done on men only women. Does that seem a little prejudice . Then I found loperamide in Imodium and they then added something that did not agree with me. I had to change again. I pray you do not get IBD-d. But to my understanding, it can happen at anytime.

  5. Ed

    My son takes 2 in the morning and 2 at night to help control diarrhea. He has Hirschprung’s Disease and had 2/3 of his colon removed a few months after birth. The ability to buy larger quantities at once are a time saver and cost saver!

  6. John

    This is far more than just dim-witted and intelligence-challenged government actors blindly and stupidly applying a one-size-fits-all solution to a drug abuse problem. This is blatant and callous disregard for those who are suffering from disabling IBS on the part of a government agency that is charged with helping the sick and disabled. Rather than merely vent our anger here, we must contact our local political representatives, the media, our health care networks, and everybody else who should stand up against this irresponsible misuse of governmental authority.

    All it would take to intelligently deal with the Immodium drug abuse problem is to make the drug a PRESCRIPTION DRUG. WE NEED TO DEMAND ACTION NOW !!!!!!!!!! MAKE PHONE CALLS!! WRITE EMAILS !!!!! WRITE LETTERS!!!! WE MUST ACT AND ACT NOW !!!!!! There is no excuse for a USA government agency causing so many people to be home-bound and disabled over this issue.

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