Depression & Mental Health

Expert reports about Depression & Mental Health


INFORMATION FOR WOMEN WHO ARE THINKING OF USING, ARE USING, OR HAVE USED LOPERAMIDE DURING PREGNANCY OR BREASTFEEDING

 

What is loperamide?

Loperamide is an opioid drug that is used widely to treat diarrhea, both chronic (long-term) and acute (intense episode with a rapid onset). By binding to a type of opioid receptor called the mu receptor, loperamide reduces the intensity and frequency of the contraction of the muscles in the wall of the intestines, resulting in a slowing of the movement of feces. At dosage levels needed to slow intestinal activity, loperamide does not absorb significantly into the blood stream. Consequently, the drug does not require a prescription and traditionally has not been considered to have abuse potential. Beginning in the mid 2010s, however, physicians and researchers began realizing that people were abusing loperamide by taking it in very high quantities – quantities far beyond the recommended 2-4 mg per dose, 8 mg maximum per day if you obtain the drug over-the-counter (16 mg per day is permitted with a prescription). This results in the drug entering the bloodstream and central nervous system enough to produce euphoria, a high like one gets from other opioid drugs.


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