Risk of Prilosec and Imodium Being Combined By Drug Addicts Raises Concerns Among Health Officials

A new report suggests that a growing number of drug addicts are combining the heartburn medication Prilosec and the anti-diarrheal drug Imodium to get high, raising concerns about the easy ability to purchase the drugs in most pharmacies and grocery stores, without a prescription or any monitoring. 

The Upstate New York Poison Center is calling for both drugs to be removed from over-the-counter sales, according to local media reports. The move comes in response to concerns about the extreme dangers posed by grinding the drugs up and combining them for recreational purposes.

Imodium contains a mild opioid called loperamide, which will not cause a narcotic high at normal prescribed doses. However, the poison center reports that some addicts have been taking dozens, or even hundreds of tablets, grinding them up or turning them into smoothies, and drinking them.

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Proton Pump Inhibitor Lawsuits

Nexium, Prilosec and other acid reflux drug side effects may increase risk of kidney injury. Lawsuits reviewed.


Prilosec is being used to reduce the body’s ability to absorb and flush the Imodium, meaning it takes less pills to achieve a high.

While both medications are available over-the-counter, without a prescription, they each carry a risk of potential side effects, especially when taken in such large amounts. Dr. William D. Eggleston, a clinical toxicologist at the poison center, indicated that the center has seen a seven-fold increase of Imodium abuse from 2011 to 2015.

Imodium is a cardiac toxin that, in large doses, can cause abnormal heart rhythms and death.

The side effects of Prilosec and similar heartburn drugs, known as proton pump inhibitors, have been linked to a risk of kidney problems,bone fractures, dementia, and other health problems.

In April 2015, researchers raised concerns about the Prilosec kidney risks in a study published in the medical journal CMAJ Open, which found that users of the heartburn medication may be 2.5 times more likely to suffer an acute kidney injury, which involves abrupt loss of kidney function. In addition, users of Prilosec and other PPIs had a three times higher risk of acute interstitial nephritis, which involves swelling between the kidney tubules and can result in a range of symptoms, from mild to severe.

Earlier this year, a study published in the medical journal JAMA Internal Medicine also found an increased risk of chronic kidney disease with the heartburn medications, indicating that users of Nexium, Prilosec and other PPI may be 50% more likely when compared to non-users.

These findings were supported by another study published last month, in which researchers with the Department of Veterans Affairs found that users of Nexium, Prilosec or other PPIs may be 96% more likely to develop kidney failure and 28% more likely to develop chronic kidney disease after five years of use.

In recent months, a growing number of individuals throughout the United States have been pursuing Prilosec lawsuits after suffering kidney failure, chronic kidney disease, acute kidney injury or acute interstitial nephritis after using the popular acid reflux medication. According to allegations that are likely to be raised in the complaints, manufacturer of the drug failed to adequately warn about the kidney risks and also argue that the medications should not be available over-the-counter without close medical monitoring.


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