For those who are not familiar with loperamide, it is an antidiarrheal medication that is commonly used to treat chronic diarrhea and is available over-the-counter. Also known as Imodium, loperamide slows down the production electrolytes and other fluids in the bowels that would otherwise cause diarrhea. Because of its effectiveness, loperamide is one of the best-selling antidiarrheal medications in America. However, it is also quickly becoming one of the most abused medications as well, particularly among those who abuse prescription and street-level opioids. As a result, numerous rehab facilities in America have seen an uptick in individuals seeking help in overcoming an addiction to not only opioids but also loperamide as well.
WHAT IS THE CORRELATION BETWEEN OPIOID AND LOPERAMIDE ADDICTION?
On the surface, it would appear that opioids and loperamide have nothing in common with one another. However, if we delve deeper, we will find that they have quite a bit in common. Although officially classified as an antidiarrheal medication, loperamide is also an opioid. For that reason, many individuals who abuse stronger opioids, such as oxycodone or heroin, have started turning to loperamide to achieve an easier and far cheaper high. To help put this into context, the average cost for 400 over-the-counter loperamide capsules is $10 or less. Meanwhile, one 80 mg tablet of prescription oxycodone is about $6.00. And those who choose to buy oxycodone illegally can expect to spend anywhere from $65 to $86 for the same 80 mg tablet. Some individuals also abuse loperamide to help combat diarrhea, dehydration, and other side effects associated with consuming large doses of oxycontin, heroin, and other stronger opioids.
HOW LOPERAMIDE ADDICTION IMPACTS THE COMMUNITY
While loperamide addiction can have a profound impact on an individual’s health and wellbeing, it can also take a toll on the community as well. For example, a study published by the American College of Emergency Physicians revealed that between 2011 and 2014, the most recent and relevant statistical data available, calls made to poison control centers involving the misuse of loperamide increased by 71 percent all across America. And not surprisingly, the rate of new admission to rehab facilities among those seeking help overcoming a loperamide addiction also increased.
COMMON SIDE EFFECTS ASSOCIATED WITH THE MISUSE OR ABUSE OF LOPERAMIDE
When used correctly, loperamide is highly effective in resolving diarrhea and dehydration; however, when individuals misuse or abuse this medication, it can trigger an onslaught of unpleasant side effects, some of which include
- Stomach cramps
- Difficulty urinating
- Nausea and vomiting
TREATMENTS FOR LOPERAMIDE ADDICTION
Because loperamide is an antidiarrheal medication as well as an opioid, most rehab facilities will provide many of the same substance abuse treatments commonly used to help individuals overcome an addiction to oxycodone and heroin. That said, the first step in the addiction recovery process will entail going through detox, which is the body’s way of ridding itself of drugs and other contaminants. During this time, many individuals will experience withdrawal symptoms similar to the ones that they may have experienced while abusing loperamide. Depending on how long an individual has been abusing the medication, these symptoms can sometimes be intense. It is also worth noting that these same symptoms can be even more intense if an individual was abusing other opioids at the same time. In some cases, many rehab facilities will offer prescription-based medication to ease severe withdrawal symptoms.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO WITHDRAW FROM LOPERAMIDE?
When it comes to loperamide, the medication has a long half-life of between 9 and 14 hours, which means that it can take a while before it is fully removed from the body. For example, on the low end of the spectrum where the half-life is 9 hours, based on a 16 mg dose, it would take roughly 63 hours for loperamide to leave one’s system. And for higher doses with a longer half-life, it would take even longer for the body to rid itself of the medication. Fortunately, many rehab facilities will go out of their way to make this aspect of the recovery process as comfortable as possible.
In summation, despite being available over-the-counter and less stigmatized than other drugs, loperamide can cause significant health problems. What’s more, it can be highly addictive. That said, if you’re reading this and believe that you need help overcoming an addiction to loperamide, consider speaking with one of our associates today at 833-762-3765.