Jun 1, 2018
Loperamide is an essential over-the-counter antidiarrheal ingredient taken by millions of Americans each year for the effective symptomatic relief of acute diarrhea. Found in accessible, affordable products like Imodium A-D and store brand anti-diarrheal caplets, liquid forms and melts, this synthetic opioid specifically acts on receptors in the gut to rapidly decrease motility, allowing the intestines to better absorb water and nutrients without causing systemic effects throughout the central nervous system seen with other opioids when used as directed. First approved by the FDA in 1988, loperamide remains available without prescription under federal regulations as a safe, non-addictive treatment reducing diarrhea duration and episodes by over half compared to placebo, providing fast relief from disruptive loose stools and bowel urgency. With responsible OTC use, this targeted gut opioid continues to serve a critical role as an easily obtainable, reliable agent stopping diarrhea at the source. Loperamide enables control over sudden, acute gastroenteritis flare-ups for rapid recovery.
Some lawmakers have proposed implementing unnecessary access restrictions on loperamide-containing products to curb potential misuse.
Lawmakers should refrain from imposing unnecessary restrictions limiting consumer purchase quantities or behind-the-counter placement for loperamide, as leading manufacturers have already implemented package adjustments to limit potential abuse of these medications by consumers. Creating barriers to access without data proving enhanced safety outcomes discourages appropriate OTC use of this vital, non-addictive ingredient relied upon by millions experiencing acute diarrhea annually. Targeted packaging recalibrations better promote responsible consumption over blanket restrictions attempting to curb exceptionally rare misuse.