CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - The U.S. Food & Drug Administration is monitoring over-the-counter sales of anti-diarrhea medicine because opioid addicts are consuming large doses for a heroin-like high.
According to CBS News, the FDA is asking the drug manufacturers to change the way the product is packaged. The request is needed to curb the abuse of loperamide, which is sold under the brand name Imodium A-D and other generic anti-diarrhea medicines.
Loperamide is safe at approved doses, but some experts say addicts have been found taking anywhere from 50 to 300 pills per day.
A 2016 study from the Annals of Emergency Medicine shows that Imodium A-D consumed in massive doses has the same effects in the body as heroin, morphine, and other opiates.
"Folks that are desperately addicted, folks that are looking to stave off withdrawal symptoms will do whatever it takes sometimes, really extreme things," Dr. Jeffrey Reynolds, of the Family and Children's Association, told CBS New York at the time that study was published.
Taking loperamide in large quantities has drastic side effects, including serious heart problems, and even death.
The letter that the FDA sent to manufactures asked that additional steps are taken towards reducing loperamide abuse, including limiting the amount of loperamide per package.