FDA Safety Alert: Imodium Misuse May Cause Heart Problems

Roni Shye
Roni Shye, PharmD BCGP BCACP, is a licensed pharmacist in the states of Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.
Posted on

The FDA has issued a drug safety alert for Imodium (loperamide), a medication used to treat diarrhea.

The FDA warns that taking higher than recommended doses of Imodium can cause serious heart problems and potentially death.

What is Imodium used for?
Imodium is used to control the symptoms of diarrhea.

Why would someone take a higher than recommended dose?

The active ingredient in Imodium, loperamide, is similar to opioids like morphine. Some people have reportedly been misusing and abusing Imodium in an attempt to self-treat opioid withdrawal symptoms or to achieve a feeling of euphoria.

Is Imodium available without a prescription?

Yes. There are both prescription and non-prescription strengths of Imodium.

What type of heart problems could high doses of Imodium cause?

Abnormal heart rhythms, a sudden drop in heart rate and blood pressure, and heart attack can all be caused by high doses of Imodium.

What signs and symptoms should I be concerned about with Imodium?

If you or someone you know takes Imodium and experiences rapid heartbeat, irregular heart rhythm, or fainting, or becomes unresponsive, seek medical attention immediately.

What is the maximum daily dose of Imodium that an adult should take?

For Imodium that you can buy in your pharmacy over-the-counter, the maximum recommended daily dose is 8 mg.

For prescription Imodium, the maximum recommended daily dose is 16 mg.

Is there anything else I should be aware of?

Yes. Imodium can interact with many common over-the-counter and prescription medications, also increasing the risk for potentially serious heart problems.

These other medications could have a negative interaction with Imodium:


Drugs featured in this story

Filed under