The latest drug abuse madness: diarrhea med overdoses

Feb 7, 2018

SMYRNA, Tenn. (OSBORNE)  --  Opioid addicts are now getting high on massive doses of a common diarrhea medication.

The Atlantic magazine says people are overdosing by taking as many as 500 diarrhea tablets a day.

Credit cdc.gov

Dr. Joe Thomas heads medicine at StoneCrest Medical Center in Smyrna, He says his ER docs aren’t seeing a lot of diarrhea med overdoses, but those they do see are taken seriously.

“The problem with it at that very high dose is that it also is very cardio-toxic and can cause arrhythmias that will stop the heart and can lead to death in those ways, and so it’s another dangerous thing to be doing.”

Dr. Thomas says the majority of overdoses and deaths seen at StoneCrest continue to be caused primarily by the abuse of prescription meds, as-well-as the illicit street drugs heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine.

Thomas notes that this latest drug abuse epidemic crosses all social, economic and age barriers.

“It can be anywhere from teenagers to people in their 70s and 80s that we’ll see who abuse these medicines in different ways.”

Dr. Thomas says the FDA is currently considering how to counter the diarrhea medication abuse. You can currently buy the pills in bulk. That practice will likely end soon.  

If that doesn’t solve the problem, diarrhea treatments may soon be subject to severe restrictions like those put in place some years back for the decongestant pseudoephedrine.