Going Through Loperamide Withdrawal — Tips on Surviving the Addiction

lopemicro

Loperamide under the microscope

[UPDATE: 1 Jun 2015]
Adding and clarifying.

If you are reading this and are worried that you or someone you love may have a loperamide addiction, know that you are not alone! This is a growing national and international problem. Contact your physician for help, and feel free to print out the medical articles to help educate your clinician.

If you have questions not answered here, please feel free to post it to a comment, and I’ll answer to the best of my ability.

Coming up on two years of clean time from loperamide, I feel as if I can pass along some free advice to other addicts. Just don’t be afraid to quit. Please. Approach it with judicious caution — just try to do it right. Once.

Disclaimer: This is not meant to be a replacement for professional medical advice. See your doctor if you need medical help with an addiction.

So here we go. If you are ready to kick the habit, what should you expect?

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Can I die from Loperamide overdose? Yes. Definitively yes. People have died. I wrote about one here. Death is attributed to sudden cardiac arrest secondary to loperamide overdose. There have been many deaths reported to me anecdotally and countless others that are never reported. Many die at home before they ever get the chance to be treated; the ones who survive were hospitalized after suffering cardiac events, usually ventricular tachycardia leading to cardiac arrest. It’s important to understand that coroner’s reports on deaths cannot detect death from sudden cardiac arrest due to an arrythmia. Sometimes it may report hypoxia (secondary to loperamide overdose) — the hypoxia happens because you stop breathing when your heart stops. Ask me — I remember! And it was not fun.

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Will loperamide show up on a drug test? Generally, it won’t show on one of the normal quick tox screens because they test for certain opioid metabolites. BUT if they run a more extensive drug test, it will show up as a N-desmethylloperamide level. And don’t bother to try to cheat the test because loperamide’s half-life and fat solubility will make that nearly impossible. And beware that as lopermide’s abuse potential becomes more well known, a quickie test for it may be developed. Just a heads’ up.

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Does loperamide (Imodium) cross into the brain?

Damn skippy it does, bucko! It mostly acts peripherally, but in large amounts, it tries to wreak havoc. Like a nerd at a frat party, it sneaks past the Blood-Brain Barrier (BBB), but gets caught and immediately kicked back out by a big bully chemical called P-Glycoprotein, a protein that protects your brain from various toxins that have no business being in there. Take a normal amount of loperamide, and you won’t feel a thing.

So if that’s so, how can people claim to feel high on the drug? PGp can only handle so much at once. In a way, it’s an imperfect system because you overwhelm the PGp system by megadosing. At the risk of mixing my metaphors, think of your brain as a big sink with PGp as the drain — turn on the normal tap and the water pours right out the drain, right? But if you pour a whole gallon of water in there all at once, it’ll hold in the sink while it drains out, emptying as fast as it can. So if you’ve been mega-dosing loperamide, I assure you, your brain IS being effected. Don’t listen to those who tell you otherwise. Your Auntie Margaret speaks the truth.

This means, withdrawal from loperamide will be felt as viciously as any other opiate, minus some of the more aggravating mental aspects. The w/d effects are variants on the traditional withdrawal symptoms, some quite intense, and only now being studied as evidence comes in from those who have mega-dosed the drug.

[But loperamide’s ability to cross the blood-brain barrier in small amounts isn’t why it causes cardiac symptoms. It appears to be tied to lope’s suppression of calcium channels, particularly affecting the electrical conduction of the heart. So get off it and stay off it!]

In loperamide withdrawal, you will feel all or most of the following at some point:

Early symptoms:

  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Muscle aches
  • Increased tearing
  • Insomnia
  • Runny nose
  • Sweating
  • Yawning

Late symptoms:

  • Abdominal cramping
  • Diarrhea
  • Dilated pupils
  • Goose bumps
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

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Image

Tick tock tick tock

Loperamide Withdrawal Timeline:

Everybody is different. But from my experience, I felt that withdrawal was not so bad intially (24-48 hrs), but the more time passed, the worse withdrawal got (48-96 hrs). Also, I thought withdrawal from loperamide was much worse overall than other ‘traditional’ opiates. Just my opinion, but other people have been backing me up on this.

In October, when I first stopped taking loperamide, I went cold turkey. The following is my recollection of going from an 80 pill-a-day habit to zero all at once.**

Day 1-2: Withdrawal symptoms resemble the flu, and like the flu, symptoms were mild for about the first 24 hours. I could just start feeling mild racing sensations in my legs and arms (often called RLS – restless legs syndrome), some agitation and anxiety, rhinitis (runny nose), and yawning. But at that point, I still thought “this isn’t so bad”.

At about 36 hours, the hots/colds set in. I was constantly cold — when I wasn’t having a hot flash that is. Yawning constantly. Sneezing constantly. Profound weakness and fatigue, especially in my solar plexus. RLS got a lot worse too — much worse at night! Insomnia also set in strong. Racing thoughts and a generally increased anxiety feeling. Couldn’t concentrate. Electric “zaps” in my spinal column at the radial and sacral junctions. Started feeling really grumpy about then too.

Day 3-4: Between 72 and 96 hours all those feelings just got worse. Depression set in. My pupils got really big! Even bright light began to bother me. Around the 4th or 5th day, the diarrhea started, soft at first, then liquid. Monumental fatigue, unlike anything comparable, made simple movements (including simply sitting upright) absolutely exhausting. Just walking around, I felt as if I had lead weights attached to my feet.

Heart rate and blood pressure increased. I felt anxious and crawling out of my skin while at the same time feeling completely fatigued. Every time I laid down to rest, the closer I got to actual sleep, my legs and arms would “zap” like crazy. Maddening! I drifted off to sleep once—briefly—only to dream I was being electrocuted. Yeah, that’s pretty bad. I was up all night for days. Thank God for TV, Internet, and movies.

Day 5-7+: Once at least a week had gone by (maybe a bit more) the symptoms were raging away, I did not feel any better, and I began to notice things. Weird smells. I thought that I, myself, smelled rancid — like the lope was seeping out of my pores. All my sheets had to be washed and re-washed because of the stink (that was really distressing, but it went away after a few days). Lights were too bright and everything was too loud and too sharp. And I absolutely hated being touched! My skin was hypersensitive. Even something light brushing against me made me violently uncomfortable.

The one good thing is, detoxing off loperamide didn’t seem to result in traditional cravings or nausea, so I didn’t have to deal with that. I’ve heard that other people had horrible problems with nausea thought. One might also consider the raging return of the libido a fun thing. Enjoy.

**Full disclosure: after about 10? days of these withdrawal symptoms, I gave up and went back to using the lope, but with a strict taper down schedule which was completed 21 November 2013. I jumped from 6 per day to zero and STILL had to go through a slightly milder version of this same withdrawal syndrome.

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How long does loperamide withdrawal last? For me, it was about 8 weeks, but the worst of it was over after about 5 weeks. Keep in mind, prior to quitting, I did a fast taper — if I’d just gone cold turkey from 80 pills/day, the withdrawal would have been much more intense and would have lasted much longer. That’s experience, not assumption talking.

Now, at 10 weeks, I’m still having trouble sleeping (and sometimes diarrhea), but just about all the symptoms have passed and it’s not nearly as bad as it was when I started.

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Why do I go through withdrawal?

ImageNo matter how you look at this, it’s gonna suck. Do it by yourself, it’ll suck. Get help from a doctor, it’s gonna suck, but it’ll probably suck a lot less with help. so you might as well ask for it. Speaking for myself, I KNOW I couldn’t have succeeded in detoxing off the loperamide without the support of modern medicine.

This is a major change for you and your body. Understand that there is an underlying science to why your body is reacting the way it is. For instance, the Restless Legs Syndrome (the zaps in your arms and legs) will be occurring because of the way that loperamide interacts with the nerves throughout your body and in your heart. It isn’t just those opioid receptors, but loperamide suppresses certain aspects of the conduction of your nerves as well. Think of the loperamide as a big, warm, wet blanket, extinguishing the ‘fire’ in the nerves and suppressing any normal activity that might occur. Lift that blanket off and you get cold, harsh hyperactivity — nerves zip along full blast, just as if you were panicking. The brain also goes a bit nutso firing on all cylinders. All this hyperactivity is exhausting which is why fatigue becomes such a huge problem. Some of the weakness is likely related to all the opioid receptors being depleted along the myenteric plexus along the digestive system. The small intestine, and even the large, are basically just big muscles propelling digestive material along the gastrointestinal tract. Simply put, weakened muscles = fatigue.

hapdoc

Who is this happy doc and why is he on my blog?

Important note: This blog intends to supply anecdotal guidance and assistance but is not a replacement for professional medical advice. See your doctor and discuss your options with him/her before taking any medication.

First of all, whatever you do, don’t take the loperamide. It’ll be unbelievably hard because you know this will fix it. Please put that away, get rid of it, flush it, and don’t even consider it as a way out. It’s a way deeper into addiction, just delaying the inevitable withdrawal syndrome.

My doctor chose not to use Suboxone or Subutex therapy (opioid replacement drugs) which I am ultimately grateful for. I’ve heard nightmare stories about people who say it makes them feel like crap, then they get hooked on the buprenorphine and can’t avoid long-term withdrawal. You don’t need suboxone to get through it — it may simply add to your misery and further prolong withdrawal. Talk to your clinician and let that decision be his/hers.

There are other medications that can help.

First of all, be a good communicator with your doctor. If you get confused easily (and in a withdrawal state, you might!) make notes and take them with you. Be honest with the doctor too. Constant rigorous honesty is going to be your best friend from now on, so get started right now. Docs take you more seriously if you communicate well and are honest with them.

Clonidine is most commonly used to treat opioid withdrawal symptoms. It’s an “Alpha Blocker” that functions through the brain to block some of that adrenaline that’s causing the racing feeling throughout your body. It will calm your fired up nerves and ease that RLS that’s so excruciating. It should also suppress the Hot/Cold flashes. Trust your Auntie Margaret on this. As I learned the hard way, everything will feel so much better once you take it properly. Don’t chintz on the clonidine — it’s worth it.

ritasad

Feeling sad?

Your moods will likely be all over the place, so this is where your doc can be your new best friend. An anti-depressant may help with the deep pit of depression that can settle in, but not everybody needs it so talk to your doc. Even though loperamide doesn’t cross into the brain in any quantity ordinarily, if you’ve been on high doses of the stuff, that’s a different story. As your brain heals, you may need an SSRI antidepressant to combat those feelings of hopelessness. It can take up to 6 weeks for these types of medications to work, but don’t let that stop you from trying it if you need it. I’m traditionally a fast responder; I know within a day or two if I’m starting to lift out of the fog, so it’s worth it if you need it. I’m on Viibryd, but that’s a very new medication; they may try you on Lexapro or Prozac or something of that ilk first. The anti-depressant thing is best determined by a physician (or your own Square-Jawed NP).

insompicSleeping will be a problem. There are non-scheduled drugs that can help. First line of defense will probably be Hydroxyzine which is rather like Benadryl on steroids. Some people respond very quickly to the hydroxyzine so don’t scoff until you try it. My NP also tried Trazodone — another drug often used in opioid withdrawal management because of its deep sedating qualities. Used responsibly, these medications can really help so if insomnia is a big problem for you, give them a try.

Once you start feeling a bit more like yourself, you can use all that extra energy to get out and do things (like walk, run, exercise) but for now, lay back and let the meds do their jobs. Keep your brain busy though. Lots of movies, marathon watch some TV series, do crosswords if you can concentrate long enough. Start a hobby if you have enough energy to.

The diarrhea is going to be the least of your problems until the other symptoms get under control, and that’s what you’re left with. Sadly, there isn’t much you can do about it. It has to run its course. Get a good quality toilet paper and indulge in some flushable wipes — lots of them. The minute you think you have to go, GO. Don’t try to be a hero. Dietary changes (eat more cheese, for instance) will help a little. Pepto-Bismol can help a little too. Mainly — as I have discovered — it’s going to be a long time before it gets back to normal, and you’ll have to just wait it out and do what you can until it resolves. It could be many weeks before that gets back to normal (mine’s still raging after 2 months).

electrolyteGood nutrition — watch your B-Vitamins and make sure you get enough Potassium, Magnesium, and Calcium (basically, all the electrolytes) — will be vitally important. Your doc may want to check things by running a Blood Test to see where you are and monitor you in the future.Mainly, the big thing you need between you and the drug is time. And it will take a lot of time. Loperamide has a very long half-life, so it takes a few days to get into complete withdrawal (about a full week, usually), and it’ll take multiple weeks to start feeling like yourself again. And even more weeks to have the various symptoms of withdrawal ease off. Use that time wisely to improve yourself and to make sure you don’t need to go back and use — ever — whether that’s your original drug of choice or the loperamide. Either one will kill you, so you really have little choice. Buck up little camper.

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Do I have to join AA or NA?

11bookWell nobody’s going to force you (unless you go to jail) but it’s worth a shot. It’s another way to continue strengthening yourself so you can deal with real life again.This is not endorsement, but I do have to recommend (and I can’t believe I’m actually saying this) the AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) or the NA (Narcotics Anonymous) programs. Check In The Rooms for scheduled times/locations near you — bigger cities have AA meetings on virtually every corner at every hour. If you live in a small crap-town like I do, expect the meetings will be much less frequent. It would have helped me if someone explained what happens, so I’ll pass what I know on to you.

What to expect: People at these meetings are usually very friendly and helpful. Don’t be afraid to go. That was my big thing when I first started — I was afraid of what to expect, and I was also deathly afraid of being recognized at one of the meetings. Don’t worry about it — you’ll be fine. They’re called “anonymous” for a reason and members respect that. The meetings are structured usually with readings for about 10 minutes, then discussion on a AA/NA related topic. Just like Robert’s Rules of Order, there are certain traditions that are strictly followed. For instance, everyone introduces themselves prior to talking (i.e., “My name is Joe and I’m an alcoholic” — the response from the group is “Hi Joe”). And do not interrupt a speaker at all! It’s considered very bad form and you may get scolded! Otherwise, sit back and listen. You’ll find you’re not alone in how you feel now, and what you did when you were using.

When you go in, someone may ask you if you need ‘numbers’ — this means phone numbers and names of fellow members whom you can call who will help support you through the process. This is perfectly cool — take them and say thank you. You’ll find lots of new friends this way — it doesn’t suck. When you call, introduce yourself (i.e., “This is Joe, the new guy from the meeting”) and just discuss whatever. They’ll ask you how you’re doing; feel free to be honest. They’ve been there and can help you get through it. You might be thinking you don’t need this crap, but go with it anyway — what do you have to lose? It does help — so try it!

They’ll talk about the steps, and may ask if anyone needs a copy of the Big Book (the Alcoholics Anonymous Text is now available online!). They’ll tell you to get a sponsor and start ‘working’ your steps. You’ll start with the first three and go from there. Look ’em up! These groups really do help, so go to as many meetings as you can, especially at first. You’ll find there are a lot of old timers who go all the time too, just for the feeling of community and cameraderie, so you won’t be the weirdo who attends too many meetings. These old timers feel like that it’s a safe place they can be honest and share the things that only other addicts/alcoholics can understand. So will you.

Also, you may find you get sick and tired of hearing the platitudes after a bit (Easy Does it, One Day at a Time, etc.), but just go with it. There’s a method to their madness.

I’m not a huge proponent of the 12-step programs; I’m often critical of them to be honest. But — they’re still useful, so it’s still worth a shot. Give it a chance.

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Do I have to go to therapy or see a shrink?

nazihappy

Oooooh yay! I’m getting a mention!

Again, unless ordered by the courts, nobody’s gonna force you to do anything. But it can’t hurt. If you need therapy, use this time to get it. It’ll help you to get to the root of why you were using in the first place which will, in turn, give you fertile ground to build a new life from that doesn’t include drugs or booze. It can also help you deal with the destruction you’ve left in your wake (which, depending on how much/long you’ve used, could be pretty overwhelming). I’m still seeking a real therapist, and have an appointment set up for next month. In the meantime, my Square-Jawed NP (that little Nazi!) has been indulging in a little ‘therapy’ with me keeping me on the straight and narrow even though he’s technically medication management only. (He knows I haven’t been able to find a shrink in this crummy ‘burg).

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But what if I don’t have insurance?

Don’t let that stop you! There are options. Either try to get signed up to the Obamacare thing, or, if you have little-to-no income, go to your local Social Services Department and get yourself signed up for Medicaid. You can ask for emergency assistance if you qualify. You won’t get your choice of the best doctors in the universe, but seeing somebody is better than nobody — it’ll pay for your meds too — and there’s NO COPAY with Medicaid (at least here in NY).

Fogbank

The fog rolls out eventually

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What else?

You’re going to feel tired and crappy for a long time. Some exercise will help, believe it or not. Work those abdominals as much as you can. Take it easy on yourself. Someone told me to think of myself as being in the ICU in these first few weeks of sobriety. After that — and you’ll know it when it happens — you’ll feel like you’ve finally raised your head above the fog. It’ll feel strangely cool. That’s how you know the worst has passed.

The rest will come. In time.

Best of luck.

ADDITIONAL LINKS on THIS SITE:

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“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” ― Winston Churchill

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About madmargaret

Nursing student, Mac nerd, medical 'genius', recovering addict, singer, ex-actor, and all-around swell egg. Really!
This entry was posted in + recovery, addiction, loperamide abuse, sobrietyland and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

49 Responses to Going Through Loperamide Withdrawal — Tips on Surviving the Addiction

  1. Nida Amal says:

    what type of taper schedule did u do? how often did u decrease? My husband is taking 80 pills a day, usually about 26 pills around 8 am and 1 pm, then 14 pills at 6 and 10pm. Im trying to set up a taper schedule and help him get off, he’s been taking for almost a year. like you he started to get off opiate and help with withdrawal. thanks for any input.

    • madmargaret says:

      As I recall, at the end, I tapered about 5% each day from 40/day down to 10 pills, then jumped to zero. At the dose he’s on, decrease 10% or so each couple of days (or as you doctor recommends) as tolerated. Get meds from the doc to ease symptoms for ultimate success (clonidine in particular, hydroxyzine for sleep, SSRI for depression). Think of this time as being in the ICU — he’ll need lots of supportive measures to get through it. And going to AA/NA programs will (believe it or not) help a LOT. Good luck!

  2. nick man says:

    Sorry that you had to go through 10 days of w/d just to go back on the pills but that doesn’t make sense to me. You might as well have just stuck it out or just started the taper from the beginning. But anyway, thanks for taking the time to write this. It is very helpful.

    • madmargaret says:

      I’m glad it was helpful, thanks! Regarding the 10 days — it’s hard to describe the profound exhaustion and weakness and severe insomnia that cold turkey from loperamide causes (at least for me). I have to be on my feet and functional to do my job, and I walk everywhere, so after trying my best, I chose to go back on lope and taper instead. It kept me functional. I guess what I really need a good sit-down office job and a car! LOL! — again, thanks for your comment! 🙂

  3. bkbkaufman says:

    Margaret I really need help will you please email me bkbkaufman@gmail.com I would really appreciate it

  4. slw8510 says:

    Thank you so much for your story, I started today trying to taper off, I must admit I feel like crap. I was wondering if you could help me? Please! In going I don’t take that long to get back to normal, please email me at saundralee12@yahoo.com

  5. Hey Madmargaret, I have some more questions for you. The last question was about tapering. I had gotten addicted to kratom. I started taking high doses of loperamide to withdrawal. I started out on 80mgs, and over a course of only 16 days I tapered down to 56mg. Now at that point. I jumped off the loperamide. That has been 27 days ago. here is my little blog thread thing. http://www.drugs-forum.com/forum/showthread.php?t=244096 if you would care to read it.
    Anyway I guess my question is how much longer do I have to go. It really feels like it will never end. 27 days of kicking 16 days of loperamide use. I really figured I would be over it a week ago. It just keeps daily producing the same withdrawal symptoms. I mean I feel a bit better than the first days of stopping loperamide. But by no means do I feel normal. I struggle to even do the simplest tasks. I understand that 80 to 56mgs is extremely high, but this use only lasted 16 days, to still be withdrawing from it 27 days later. That’s already 11 days longer than I used for. I guess I want to know, how much longer, and how dose healing start to feel? How did you recognize you were getting better. Im sorry to have so many questions. You just seem very knowledgeable on this subject. I

    • madmargaret says:

      Hey there Jenifer — good to hear from you and glad you’re still trying. Your story sounds very familiar because I went through it too. Struggling to do the simplest tasks — yup. Do you find that your solar plexus (torso) is the weakest of all?

      You did use for a fairly short time, but perhaps use of other drugs incorported have caused your tolerance to the drug and your metabolism to have changed. Just a guess.

      With regard to the timeframe, remember Loperamide has a much longer half-life than most opiates like Vicodin. Half-life means, in terms of loperamide, that only half the drug has cleared your system in about 15-16 hours which is four times that of Vicodin and still only half the drug has cleared. Lope takes about 4-5 days to clear. And it can take as much as a month (maybe two) to start feeling yourself again.

      The things you describe both here and on drugs-forum are spot-on for loperamide withdrawal. The number two things people complain about are insomnia and restless legs syndrome, so you are not alone.

      I noticed in your writing that you have a doctor on board (good job!). The meds she rx’d are okay, but I would DEFINITELY add clonidine into the mix — that was a lifesaver for me — it’s an alpha-adrenergic blocker that takes away most or all of the RLS by blocking the adrenaline before it makes the nerves overfire. You will sleep better! You also might need more of the hydroxyzene at night — it’s like benadryl on steroids and works pretty well for sedation — but talk to your doc before increasing anything! She’s the only one allowed to make those decisions because she likely has a plan in mind. The Celexa is strictly an SSRI which will help with depression, which is another very common withdrawal symptom.

      I AM very glad to hear that your doctor knows about this Loperamide problem and that the word is finally getting out there into the medical community. Would you mind sharing with me what hospital your doc is associated with? I’m wondering if it’s one of the ones I know of or somewhere different. Curious how well the word is spreading.

      Another thing I’d noticed is that you’re substituting other opioids occasionally to help with the W/Ds. STAY AWAY from them. They’re actually feeding the withdrawal. You HAVE to give your body time to fix itself — every time you add something that’s going to hit those receptors in your body, you’re setting back the clock and starting all over. Plus the opioids compete for space on those receptors — between the Kratom and other drugs and the lope, you could be making things more complicated for your withdrawal. I’ve read of this before.

      So, ultimately, starting to feel better will come along, but slowly. Like I said, figure at least a month, call your doc to get those comfort meds on board and get ready to ride those withdrawal symptoms out. (And trust me, ask about the clonidine because it will make the ride much easier!). Stay in good contact with your doc, and if you’re still having insomnia issues, keep communicating with your doc and say so — there are other safe meds that can help. Hell, I was a complete wuss about it. I complained and bitched and walked around like Debbie Downer for weeks thinking it would never end. Finally there was light, and I slept, and things didn’t suck quite as much. YOU will get there too. Don’t be afraid because it DOES pass.

      Stay tough and write back to let me know how you’re doing today!
      MM

      PS: Just FYI, I’m not in my sixties; I just turned 46 and still feel like I’m 20-something — I forget all about my real age until I go to read small print. Reading glasses suck! LOL — MM

      • madmargaret says:

        Oh — and one more thing. Treatment for loperamide addiction (minus any cardiac issues) is traditionally treated like any opioid addiction. Nothing special, just keep in touch with your doc and communicate clearly and ask for help –she’ll know what to do. Congratulations on your progress and stay tough! You can do this!

      • Feel rough ya I did relapse once about a month ago, while I was still tapering off loperamide. Sinse then, I am 28 days clean of everything, Well everything opiate related. The hospital, I went to was Good Samaritan hospital, walk in clinic. I actually saw a NP. She did say she knew about it because she had a brother, who was an addict. Im not sure she understood the long duration, loperamide brings. Also I have tapered off the antidepressant, because I read some stuff that scared me. I used it the first couple of weeks. I asked for clonidine, and was told, that I could not be prescribed it, without constant supervision. She sent me to a psych NP, that wanted to put me in a in patient drug rehab. That’s not an option
        Today is already tough. I didn’t get much sleep done, but have so much to do. Ya the motivation is rough, so are the RLS. But 28 days, is still something. Surely it will end in the next couple weeks. I definitely have my appetite back. thank you so much for your support. I may have more questions later. Also sorry about getting your age wrong. Much Love. Roaddoggy….

      • madmargaret says:

        LOL – dont’ worry about the age thing. I just thought it was funny. 🙂 Sorry to hear about the clonidine — that sucks. I can’t imagine why they would do that, but there must be some reasoning. If you want to contact them again maybe you get a different NP!

        Glad to hear you’re off all opiates for now — that’s wonderful! I skimmed the articles on drug forum so I’m glad you cleared that up.

        Appetite back is a good sign! Honestly, keep plugging away at it and you’ll get there. It’s definitely rough going as I well know. Please keep in touch and let me know how you’re doing. It does get better. Kick this withdrawal thing’s ass!

        MM

        PS: I take 100mg of hydroxyzene for sleep, even now. Just an FYI. 😉 You might also want to try taking magnesium which can help to ease some of the electric zaps and RLS symptoms caused by the newly-raw calcium channels on the nerve endings. (Also protects your heart!)

  6. mm1096 says:

    Hi Margaret-

    First- thank you for being such a great storyteller. Second- I think your blog about this is WAY more insightful than anything I have read on the web so far about this type of addiction. My family and I are dealing with my sibling, who has since relapsed on his addiction to Loperamides. The first cry for help we were hopeful that that would be the last. Sure enough it has come forth again. Unfortunately the detox stage is in its 5th day, and was forced upon by my parents. Because of the financial situations, the detox is going on at home which is causing much more hurt and pain to my parents.

    As the older sibling, I am trying to find ways to allow my parents to not relive the pain again for seeing their barely 21 year old child go through this. I have been doing some research to see if there are treatment centers that would be good for this type of withdrawl in a couple weeks.

    Do you have any recommendations on places or types of treatment centers that would be a good fit for coming over this addiction? We already went the route of a rehab facility closer to home, however, it seemed to have not helped… No one took the addiction seriously, my sibling was bullied by the other tenants because of the drug of choice, and pretty much everyone laughed in our faces (and it was freaking expensive!!).It got so bad, they were taken out and finished with an outpatient program at home. We are worried that this did more harm than good. [[There are also other mental issues that are involved, however, once we get past the lying aspect, we are finding that the addiction has been the root for a couple years now.]]

    Also, have you seen any studies or more research being performed on this type of addiction? I’d be anxious to read more about it.(Also think the long term affects might scare my sibling a little bit). We are also having a hard time finding a psychologist who takes this serious enough. My parents feel like they have thrown thousands of dollars down the drain, and want to do it right this time around. We have insurance, but it seems like also this isn’t accepted for long term use unless he/she tests for dugs- and as we quickly found out, he didn’t test for anything even though he was, and is again, up to 100+ pills a day.

    Anything else you might suggest for our situation is greatly appreciated.

    • madmargaret says:

      I’m so sorry for what you’re going through, but thank you for writing. Have you tried Hazelden? http://www.hazelden.org/ They’re reputation is excellent. Other than that, it’s hard to find rehab centers that are aware of the loperamide thing; it’s relatively new. How horrible that you and your sibling are being treated like that! Palm Partners is aware of the problem (at least a little) http://blog.palmpartners.com/crazy-drug-trends-loperamide-addiction/ so they’d be worth checking out too. Where you go, you might want to bring printouts of some of the articles I have listed on this site so the doctors will take you more seriously. http://tinyurl.com/lkzltmv — More studies are being done as word spreads that this is a real disorder that people are dying from. I hope that helps a little. I wish I had more info. Let me know how you make out and if you have more questions! Warmly — MM

      • You jumped off at a high dose Margaret. No wonder your withdrawels were so intense. 6 per day equals 12 mg, you should have just tapered down to 1 pill a day for a week. I would have take the 12 for five days, then jump down to 10 for 5 or 6 days, then jump down to 8. Then once you get to five start cutting down but 1. You will be withdrawing during this time but it is sooo much more bearable and manageable. Once you get to 1 pill a day, the first 3 days kinda suck, but not too bad, but after that your body will adjust to 1 pill a day if you take it for a week straight. After your body adjusts to to just 1 then jump off. Yes you’re going to have diahreah, restlessness here and there, anxiety. But it will be way more mild then what you went through. Congratulations by the way, I don’t know you but getting off that shit is no joke, just because it takes soooooo long it seems. But they lower the mg you jump off the least your problems will be.

  7. Hello Margret. Hope you are doing well. I am 60 days clean of loperamide, and still struggling. I have been yawning, and having the stretches all day. It just will not seem to end. Which is really causing some major depression. It still seems so hopeless. I mean after 2 months I should be feeling great. Right? I’m afraid something may be wrong. I guess I’m getting scared, that this is how life will always be for me. The thought of that is so depressing.

    I wake up in the mornings, and it takes me two hours of laying in bed, wishing I was not in pain. I also have very bad stomach pain, in the mornings. So mornings are so hard still. I was wondering how much longer do these PAWS take to pass. How did you feel after 2 months? Thanks for any advice you have. You have been so helpful in my recovery so far, I cant thank you enough.

    • madmargaret says:

      Hi Jenifer — I was actually feeling better after a couple of months, and it kept getting better over time, but keep in mind, I had help from my doctor. I had to be on antidepressants, sleep meds, and clonidine. It’s really hard to go through the PAWS because they seem to linger for so long. I remember when I first detoxed off the loperamide without doc’s help, and it was a dark, deep hole that seemed impossible to get out of — the depression was horrific. I strongly recommend you find a doctor who can prescribe some meds to help you get stronger faster. Be honest with them, and they can help you. If you’re afraid the doc might not take you seriously, print out some of the articles that I reference on the article clearinghouse page (or just print that page and take it with you). The approach (from a medical perspective) is pretty much the same as any opioid dependence issue, but since the effects last so long, it’s important that the doc monitor your responses to the meds. Blessings, and best of luck. Please keep in touch! — MM

  8. mrbjlove says:

    I’m glad I came across this blog. I’m on day 3 of my detox. Still a long way to go, and I honestly think I’m going to have to have a Dr’s help. You referred to “Megadosing” I am sure that’s the category I fit in. I order them In 96 ct bottles and take 4 bottles at a time ( over about 10 minutes) the reason I decided it was time to quit is that I’ve noticed breathing trouble at night. Like when I’m just dosing off (obviously before the last 72 hours) I would notice a “heaviness” in my chest. And I’ve definitely noticed the nerve stuff you spoke of, my legs have at times given out for no real reason. (Other than massively high loperamide levels in my body)
    I’m concerned about seeing my dr because he is a family friend and I’m very much in the closet about my addiction to this crap. Do you have any idea if a dr at, say, a walk in clinic would be able /willing to help?
    Thank you for writing this blog
    B

    • madmargaret says:

      A doc at a walk-in clinic might simply refer you back to your GP — or possible refer you out to an addiction specialist, but he/she might leave that to your GP to make that decision. Remember that docs do have that “code of silence” thing going on, so even though he’s a family friend, I doubt it’ll ever come back to bite you. In fact, he might be more willing to take a personal interest in making sure you get through this with as much help as possible. I think it might be a good thing for you to discuss it with him first. My suggestion is to print out some of the medical articles that I cite on the blog under article clearinghouse (link at top of page) or just print out that page and give it to him since all the references are there. It’ll help give him an understanding that this is a REAL disorder — since many physicians are still unaware of the problem — and he can better provide you the help you’ll need. The megadosing you mention is very high, so it’s a wonderful thing that you’re seeking help. It’s extremely difficult to go from that amount to zero on your own. I know how hard it is to discuss something like this when the doc is a family friend. I was in a similar situation with my GP, but I had to get honest and make sure I didn’t literally die from my own embarrassment. You can do this — and honestly, it’s the right step. Best of luck, and please keep in touch and let me know how you do; I really do want to know. Hang in there and know you’re not alone! Warmly — MM

  9. healthatlast says:

    Hello Margaret. I just wanted to say, your writing on loperamide withdrawal should be the gold standard for hospitals and doctors. Also no one should struggle by themselves with this. Go to a hospital and make it tolerable with clonidine and possibly some sleeping pills. Hydroxine and Benadryl just didn’t work for me. Nothing worse than being in day 3 or 4 of cold turkey withdrawal having to get up for work at 7am, but you fell asleep at 11pm and wake up sweating and kicking at 1am, and you know you can’t possibly go back to sleep. Get to a hospital immediately and get comfortable. You don’t have to suffer as much. I started reading your blogs on day 2 of withdrawals when I felt like I was in full normal opiate withdrawal, and your writing said it got worse day 3 & 4. I was in denial that it was going to get worse, but it did. I’ve withdrawn from legitimate prescriptions of Vicodin, morphine, and oxy, and I thought those withdrawals were bad. Loperamide in my opinion is WORSE. Thank you for being a guiding light through this Margaret. I am now in day 14 under clonidine, and restirol at night, and I feel a ton better. Biggest problem I’d say would be weakness, and a little bit of anxiety. Otherwise, I am slowly creeping out of the woods.

    • madmargaret says:

      Good for you! I’m very happy to hear about your progress! Please stick to it. It does get better. All my best– mm

      • healthatlast says:

        Do you recall how long you felt the need for clonidine Margaret? I figured when I wake up not sweating or my skin feeling icky that maybe I can cut down from every 4 hours, to maybe every 6-8 hrs.

      • madmargaret says:

        Yes. For me, I cut back within a week or two to once or twice a day, then once for maintenance at bedtime. Let your clinicians help you decide when the right time is for you. Mm

  10. healthatlast says:

    Just wanting to keep you, or anyone suffering through this updated on my progress Margaret. Today is 4 weeks loperamide free for me. I am still taking the Restirol to sleep. I still wake up during the night even with it usually once, but I am able to go back to sleep and sleep the rest of the night. I do wake up earlier than normal all the time. Weekends use to be sleep as late as possible, say 11am or so, but I can’t seem to sleep past 8 anymore. I think it’s still the withdrawal affecting me. I’m also still on my clonidine usually 4 times a day compared to 6 times a day in the beginning. I wake up and go for hours without taking it but I feel myself sweating and just a very mild skin crawl feeling and I tell myself I want clonidine. At week 4 things are not horrible by any stretch, and I can probably get off the restirol and clonidine and suffer very minimally compared to week 1. I’m mostly afraid of not sleeping. My energy seems to be a great deal better. I don’t have that weakness in my gate as bad as before. Also I would probably be mildly uncomfortable without the clonidine. If early withdrawals are a 10 out of 10 uncomfortable wise, I’d probably be at a 2-3 without clonidine. I went through the first 4 days of the withdrawal on my own with no help, which was THE WORST, but I don’t know why I don’t have the strength to just suffer mildly at this point. It’s just going to take a mindset to do it. Anyone suffering through this, hang in there, it gets a little better everyday. I do look forward to waking up some day saying that I just feel 100% normal again. I’m sure that day will come before long. I’d say that I’m feeling about 80% normal at this point. Just in case anyone is reading this I will keep you updated on my progress, so that you too can look forward to better days!

    • madmargaret says:

      Thank you for the update!! You sound like you’re doing great and on the right track. I’m really proud of you. This is one of the toughest things you’ll ever do, but it insures your future for better things. Keep exercising — it helps a lot — and keep up the great work!! You can do this!!

      MM

  11. I was using Imodium for IBS (that was later diagnosed with CDIFF (a massive bacterial infection that almost took my life). Well as soon as I felt that I was having soft poo (I’m so sorry for the TMI but you’re the only person I have found that could help with some of my questions). I started taking it again. I knew I shouldn’t because there was no need but the absolute fear of that diarrhea for another 7 or 8 months petrified me. Can you PLEASE email me so that I can ask you about the withdrawal symptoms I am having??? texas_tech93@yahoo.com
    I look forward to your email. I am in an absolute panic.

    • madmargaret says:

      Check your email!
      Diarrhea is a very common problem post-loperamide use. It’s an equal-and-opposite reaction thing. There are alternatives to using lope, so before you resign yourself to going back, try other means of controlling it. Dark green leafy veg with lots of iron, more meats and cheese, yogurt, Peptol Bismol, iron supplements. There are also non-opiate prescription meds that can be tried. Hang in there — and check your email. 🙂 MM

  12. Susan Ketzel says:

    Just found out that my step daughter is now having serious kidney, pancreas and liver problems from having been addicted to Imodium for 3 years. She says she is off it now, but she’s lied in the past. Is this common side effects of long term use? Her drs are saying she may have to go on dialysis. We are all just worried and scared. I’m not sure how to help and she lives out of state with her kids.

    • madmargaret says:

      Hello — so sorry to hear about your step-daughter’s complications! That’s so awful! It is not something I have heard of, but it is certainly not out of the realm of possibility. Long-term megadosing of Loperamide has not been studied until recently, and this is the first I’ve heard of this particular set of complications. Are you sure that was all she was taking? Was she trying to combine it with other medications to increase its effect? (Further investigation into the pathogenesis of this is certainly warranted.)

      At any rate, I’m really, truly sorry that you and your family are going through this. I hope and pray that once she is off the drug and receives the treatment she needs, the symptoms will clear up and she will return to good health.

      Please keep in touch and let me know what happens. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.

      MM

  13. medic949 says:

    Hey MM!

    I was so happy to find your page! I am currently tapering down from long-term, high-dose Loperamide usage and was so relieved to read everything you wrote! I’m going through it with a doctors help like you did, which I totally agree is the way to go. I don’t know if I could do this without the help of modern medicine. It’s still tough even with the help. I’ve been tapering down one pill every 3-4 days and it’s made a total difference from the huge jumps I was trying to make without my doctors help….when I look back to where I started, I’m amazed that I’ve come this far, and then I read your blog and I see that it is totally possible to get completely off of it!! I’m just sorry I didn’t see your blog sooner….

    I wanted to touch on serious complications from long-term usage. I read Susan’s post about her step daughter having some terrible health problems. I had my blood work done prior to starting the tapering down a few months ago and my liver enzymes were through the roof. My doctor told me, just like you mentioned, that little research has been done about long-term effects, but that he was very optimistic that once I got down into the lower numbers and eventually off of that crap completely, that my liver would return to good health. Obviously, it’s wait and see, but I’m staying hopeful. I’m sending Susan and her step daughter my thoughts and prayers.

    Thank you for sharing your experience with everyone and helping those of us who are trying to kick this stuff! It’s such a relief to know that I’m not the only one going through this and that it is possible to do it. I was actually thinking about starting a blog too with my experiences…I figure the more help, the better!

    • madmargaret says:

      Thanks medic949! More than likely, the hepatic enzymes will return to normal once the loperamide is completely withdrawn. Hang in there. I’m SO glad you’re under a knowledgeable doctor’s care. That’s wonderful news. Keep up that taper and let me know how you fare!! — MM

  14. Cody R says:

    I first would like to say, it would be important to explain how deep into this addiction you were, meaning how much did you take and how long? because alot of your info is inaccurate…
    I don’t mean to leave any negative replies, but this is a subject I take very seriously because I was addicted to loperamide for almost 2 years taking 300 2mg pills for a year or more. And it’s not cool to give people false hope, they need real help with stuff as sensitive as this…
    1st I would like to say is, yes actually suboxone is gonna be one of your best options, mainly because tapering does not work. It does NOT cross your BBB under a certain amount, so it’s absolutely false to say tapering would work. Don’t believe me? Even though I tried, you can research the many people who have tried it, failed, and talk about it and explain it in depth. Anything under around 60 of the 2mg pills will do nothing for most people with no tolerance, and when your addicted to it for some time and taking more and more 60 won’t even make you feel a little better. I have been through withdrawals of many types of various drugs, and loperamide was by far the worst by a long shot.
    2nd OTC sleep aids do not work, at one point of my withdrawal I took 3/4 of a bottle of nyquil, 6 benedryl, and 3 muscle relaxers all at once and didn’t even touch me. Still was up all night with absolutely no relief. The loperamide throws your chemicals off balance not allowing these types of things to work during loperamide withdrawal….
    3rd Anti depressants, especially SSRI inhibitors will make you feel 10 times worse during withdrawal. They will NOT help, that’s just a crazy notion. That goes for any opiate btw…
    Vitamins won’t help, but they are good to take for sure…
    If your serious about quiting, but don’t want to take the suboxone route or can’t. You need a gaba agonist, Gabapentin or lyrica, lyrica working the best. Gaba, is what your brain needs at a time like this, and any withdrawal not serotonin. Please trust me on that, the gaba will do wonders for all the PAWS, depression, anxiety, restless legs/arms, stomach problems, ect and many have quit opiates of many kinds with just gaba agonists, you can research that too….
    There are much better posts on this online, including one of my own. I have been clean from loperamide for 2 years now, and guess how I did it… SUBOXONE!!! yep the one that’s said to avoid. Don’t avoid it, just take it 5 or 6 days then stop simple as that. Then take some type of gaba, (I was prescribed gabapentin) and vitamins. Another great way is mega doses vitamin c ( sodioum ascorbate ) but that’s another discussion. You can research that online as well….
    Again I have real, deep experience in this field not saying anyone else doesn’t, but I was 600mg deep every day. And I did it the right way, and the most painless way. I promise if you take anti depressants in any withdrawal you will want to die worse then before!..
    Goodbye ppl and goodluck to you all.

    • medic949 says:

      What works for one may not work for another. I’ve been taking lope for a lot longer than 2 years and have been working on coming off of it for the last 6 months or so. I was taking somewhere in the range of pills that you were taking….
      You can’t say something “doesn’t work” just because it didn’t work for you. I’ve been tapering down and it’s working beautifully for me. Also, you can’t say SSRI’s don’t work, because that’s exactly what I’m taking to aid in the coming down off of this crap. I was also put on clonidine after I read MM’s blog and it’s been working great to calm the restless legs and nerve pain. I wouldn’t have even known about it had I not read MM’s page here. It’s all about whatever combo works for the specific person. The whole point is to get off lope the least painful way possible. It’s good you’re clean; I’m about a week away from being there myself…..but remember, tapering and SSRI’s WILL work for some. I’d be miserable without the system I have in place to get off of lope.

    • madmargaret says:

      Hey there Cody,

      Appreciate the comment and your concerns. First of all, my main suggestion to people is to seek medical assistance through this process. Doing it on your own works only for a very small percentage of people. Suboxone is absolutely NOT the best choice for everyone, and THAT decision is best left up to a physician; that said, I stand by my view that most people do not need it to get off the Loperamide. Current published case reports back me up on this — but more importantly, it encourages further research into the matter. You’re more than welcome to disagree of course, and if it worked for you after just a few days of opiate substitution, then more power to you! And congratulations on getting clean — that’s wonderful!

      The most important thing is to set yourself up for success. This is an individualized process that should include medical intervention and key lifestyle changes.

      Also, if my article conflicts with your views, in your upset, you may not be remembering things correctly. I never advocated for OTC sleep medications and only said that vitamins can help strengthen your body through recovery (especially since many addicts are also depleted of nourishment). And anti-depressants are prescribed NOT for withdrawal, but for the crushing depression that can be resultant of the withdrawal process. Regarding my own “time” as a loperamide addict, you need to read my site, dude. I assure you, I’ve been keeping informed on the published research as well as individual discussions with medical personnel from Emergency Departments and Recovery Centers around the nation. And addicted individuals and their families who write me directly.

      I was addicted for a long time, and on high doses, but it would be foolhardy — and short sighted — to dismiss my information just because I might not have been taking as much as you or for as long as you. There are MANY new cases of people taking 800 and more tablets. Some die. Most live. ED treatment manages symptoms, but cannot cure the underlying addictive disease. That takes a lot more work.

      Regarding GABA agonists/antagonists regarding opiate withdrawal, currently, an alpha-blocker such as Clonidine is the standard of care. That said, ANY medication that effects the brain’s neurotransmitter system (whether loperamide, heroin, an antidepressant, neurontin, or clonidine) is going to have side effects and its own modicum of withdrawal. Each individual patient responds differently to different methods of treatment, and it’s important to maintain good communication with one’s physician so your addiction recovery can be properly managed.

      Ultimately, the most important thing is to get healthy. I’m REALLY glad to hear that you’re doing well. Truly I am. Best of luck to you!!

      MM

    • health4943 says:

      Thank you so much for this comment!!! I’m so desperate for help!! My boyfriend is highly addicted to loperamide ( taking well over 200pills a day, to my knowledge ) he started the loperamide because it was the “safe” way to help with withdrawals from other drugs… he is currently in rehab for the 3rd time trying to get off loperamide… this drug is very serious and has put him in the ICU for over a week, he was shocked 3 times and given a temporary pacemaker .. and being discharged from the hospital he was given suboxone.. he was on that for about 6 month then started the loperamide once again.. now in rehab desperate for help.. unfortunately, in rehabs they give suboxone for a couple days then your on your own… my question to you is is there any advice you think would possibly help me?? I’m so scared this OTC medicine is going to kill him and others!! If you have any advice please please please send it my way!! Thank you in advance!!

      • Eric Rubio says:

        Yes this drug is no joke. He probably had no idea what he was getting himself into. Its going to be a painful road for him but very rewarding. You are going to have to be patient and understanding. This is the hardest thing a person will have to do, hands down. You are going to want to give up on him and your relationship will be tested. Do not give up hope. He will get it eventually. The Suboxone isn’t a bad thing in my opinion. He should probably want to stay on that for as long as possible. He may do things unexpected to make himself feel a little better because trust me, he probably feels like he is going to die or probably wants to die. Some people use Benzos to sleep because sometimes its the only thing that works. Or sometimes i used Adderall or amphetamines to compensate for energy loss (I am not saying that is a solution though). Just make sure he stays away from the loperamide because that will kill him. He isn’t going to have energy for a while so if he is expected to get up and function a lot at this rehab he isn’t going to do so well. All i can say is just be there for him for support. He is probably supper depressed and needs someone who understands. Most likely this rehab he is at is not going to understand what he is going through and I am sure they are not going to give him what he needs to be comfortable.. At least now you have some idea about how hard this is. Sometimes all we need is someone that understands how bad this is. This is worse then any drug hands down and he probably fell into it not even knowing what he did and now has to deal with the sickness from the devil himself to feel normal. Good luck to him and you, you both will be in my prayers.

        Eric

  15. Cody R says:

    Ohhhh, I’m no Internet journalist. My posts on this topis are on drug forums, so you don’t think that’s why I was responding negatively.
    goodbye, I wish everyone the best of luck with any addiction.

  16. I am sitting here suffering from tianeptine withdrawal. i used tianeptine to get off of suboxone, which I used to get off of hydrocodones. It’s a never ending cycle. Anyhow, I just took about 30 loperamides to ease these god awful restless legs and skin creepy crawly feeling. It’s 5am. I did sleep for a few hours from 10 to 2. I just want to say that this blog is giving me hope and for that, I’m grateful. I think I’ll call around for a doc tomorrow. Good to know I’m not alone, bad to know that there’s other folks going through something similar. I don’t know about loperamide withdrawal, but tianeptine withdrawal is by far worse than any opiate withdrawal I’ve ever experienced and I’ve been through plenty. I’ve been taking up to 5 grams of the stuff a day. Maybe that’s why it’s so bad. I plan to taper from now on. I have another 30 grams coming in the mail in the morning and I plan to make that last twice as long as it normally does. Anyways, thanks for posting this blog. Good stuff.

  17. Taylor Black says:

    Not sure if you still read this, but this post and all these comments have been extremely uplifting. I’ve been trying to come off lope for about a month now after at least a full year of use. I used to think that it would just be a few days WD, but I realize now just how much like other opiates it is. I have been considering visiting a methadone/suboxone clinic instead of the repeated cold-turkey attempts I have made. I haven’t really decided what the best course of action is for me yet.

    Thanks for your all your great info! Perhaps if I have any questions/concerns in the upcoming weeks I can come to you for advice!

    • madmargaret says:

      Hi Taylor — Thanks for your comment. Please do email if you have questions or comments. I apologize for taking so long responding; it’s been busy. I’m glad the articles have been helpful for you and hang in there! You don’t need suboxone, but if they do decide to put you on it, remember that it’s just a tool for getting off opiates altogether. Also, loperamide has a long half life; don’t start the suboxone for at least a week after your last lope dose or you could end up in precipitated withdrawal. Best of luck, and keep in touch!! — MM

  18. Alex Zajacek says:

    Hey Margaret, my name is Alex,
    I’m detoxing off 40 pills every other day and short acting opiates the days inbetween for the past few weeks now. Today I have 30 hours off lopermide and opiates. You said the withdrawl lasted you about 5 weeks for the worst of it to be over. Now, I consider the worst to be the jumping out of my skin and hot flashes and severe fatigue….did that actually last 5 weeks along? Will I feel like ill be able to at least function after 6 days? I remember suboxone 2mg took me 8 days until I started to feel some what better.
    Any info will help. email : [redacted] if you’d rather respond there.

    • madmargaret says:

      Hi Alex,

      The acute withdrawal period from loperamide is prolonged, yes. Many people write and agree that about 8 weeks is average. You should be able to function though — I did — it just wasn’t fun. I had no car so I walked to work every day, took the bus, and handled grocery shopping, etc., with little to no assistance. If I can do it, you can do it. The key is: have patience with yourself and get help. If you can get withdrawal meds on board (i.e., clonidine, hydroxyzene, trazodone, etc) it will make things much more bearable. Take really hot baths or showers, eat healthy food, and get exercise! Honestly, exercise helps everyone who has reported it to me. One man was running every day and cut the acute withdrawal time down by less than half. (This may have something to do with the fat-asorbing properties of loperamide; exercising helps in elimination of the drug). You can do it!! Best of luck and please keep in touch!! — MM

  19. Cee Malero says:

    Hi Margaret,
    Thank you for the article. I just wanted to throw in my 2 cents in case anyone has been where I was, so they know they are not alone. I am an addict. It started when I had a gastric bypass for weight loss in 97. I got dumping syndrome and was prescribed Paregoric liquid. Not knowing at the time it was basically liquid morphine made from powdered opium. I never measured my dose which was 1 tsp up to 4 times a day I just swigged it. It started off ok but after a year or so I was using it more and more. After a few years I was not using it for dumping syndrome anymore. I had about 6 or 7 doctors and countless pharmacies prescribing it to me. (Poly Pharmacy) It was not easy keeping track of who to go to and when my time for that doctor to prescribe was. A bottle that should have lasted 24 days was barley lasting 3 days. I lied to everyone to get it. When I couldn’t get it for a day or two I would supplement with Bacardi 151(which did nothing really) I could drink 2 pints and only get a small buzz. I tried to stop many times. I was very good at functioning and hiding it, I worked a great job. Then I got hurt at work and the prescription Dilaudid, Percocet, Vicoden and Soma really did me in. It got so bad after a few years that I was taken to the hospital in a psychotic state, tied down in a hospital bed after just getting my prescription of Soma filled. The doctor said I had taken 44 of them after counting what was left in the new prescription bottle. I was also put on the Duragesic Patch which I was supposed to change every 3 days but I would actually just chew on them 1 per day to get the drugs in a stronger dose and yes more than 1 doctor prescribing them too. If it were not for my husband, faith and family I would never have gotten clean. I did it by myself short of being prescribed Methodone for my accident pain by a doctor that did not know of my addiction, but it helped. I did relapse a few times but ultimately I got myself clean. It was a dark time but with my faith and family I did it with no other outside help. When the dumping syndrome came back I thought it couldn’t hurt to use anti diarrhea’s, as I didn’t want to go back on Opiates and risk addiction again. It started out slow, using them about 3 times a day, but I found I had an anxiety about having a bowel movement in public so I started using more to insure I didn’t. I found the boxes at Costo for $5 or $6 bucks and would buy 5 boxes a week. I used upwards of 4oo pills a day swallowing them by the handful. I only had a bowel movement every 3 or 4 days. I tried to slow down but the diarrhea came on strong so I took more. I even took them in the morning when leaving to have the several colonoscopies I have had. Long story short I realized I was just trading one addiction for another. I never got “High” on A D’s as I call them, at least I didn’t feel it. I am using the taper down method as I did with my other Opiate addictions. It takes a lot longer but the symptoms are manageable and believe me I know about irritability and RLS. I also suffer from depression and anxiety but it has not gotten any worse while withdrawing and It is not too bad anymore anyway. I am now down to 5 a day from over 400 over the course of about 4 months and I took that many for years. I get the aching legs and the need to stretch a little but its better than the awful gas and pain I started to get very badly while taking A D’s. 1 very important thing I didn’t see in the comments (other than a Dr. or AA meetings) is you need a strong support system, which thankfully I have. I plan to be free of this addiction within a month. Moral of my story know what you are taking and the risk’s involved. You can get clean. I never thought I could but I did and you can too.

  20. Henry Mahon says:

    Hi MM. Thank you so much for writing these posts. I was able to get off of heroin by substituting for high dose loperamide, however I quickly got addicted the lope and went to rehab to get off of it. Boy that sucked. I was sicker than I had ever been and the withdrawals lasted for months! Absolutely terrifying. I think imodium is great on a quick taper, like talked about in this post: http://opiate.us/remedies/loperamide-for-opiate-withdrawal/ but it is so important to not continue taking it otherwise it’s very easy to get addicted. I myself am living proof. Keep fighting the good fight and thank you for a fantastic blog! 🙂

  21. Matthew Rogers says:

    Hi I’m matt .. l was on tramadol for 4 years after being in hospital for a gorgeous bladder removed and hay they put me on tramadol and when takeing them they made me feel so much better l thought l died and gone to heaven … then from 7 50 mg tablets daily to 20 50 mg daily l started to feel ill and moody so l got help at a drug work clinic the lady there was fantastic she put me on suboxone 8 mg daily pick up then after 3 months l went down to 6 mg suboxone then soon after 2 years l went again down to 4 mg then 2mg 3 0.5 micrograms … l felt l was on them for far to long and felt the new drug clinic just didn’t want me to get clean l was worried about how l felt becoming moody and l kept haveing heart pain so l found kratom and l got down to snapping the 2 mg suboxone in half just lol then I’d take a table spoon of kratom and to my amazement l was feeling much better so l jumped after 2 days of the suboxone and took 4 teaspoons of meang da kratom l mean l didn’t feel 100% but l could sleep and it stopped the restless legs and sweats and I COULD SLEEP!!!!!!!!! I went back a few times to the clinic they just wanted me to be put on all different meetings and drug urine tests when l completed everything they wanted me to l just felt let down by there system I’d get rude looks at there offices and they visited my home address twice when l gave up with the way they where towards me l had enough so after that l was takeing the kratom for 2 months then l felt withdrawal my legs where breakdanceing all night l had to jump up and down and l felt as if l was crawling the walls .. l was told loperamide could help so l went on a 3 day trial lol it really did work but l felt l was loosing energy my arms and legs felt heavy and l felt tired all the time but on the morning of the 4 day l started to feel better with useing loperamide l think it was because the kratom withdrawal was being taken over by the loperamide could of just been fighting a loosing battle, so l thought l need to flush out the loperamide and bought 100 g of kratom white vain smartran l haven’t taken loperamide for 42 hours and the kratom has holder me fine I’m going to finish the rest of the kratom then jump …. l know l will feel uncomfortable alittle but I’ve got to stop this journey now l can see light at the end of this tunnel it can’t be all bad now … god bless you and thankyou for reading my message ….

  22. Sarajeff Whartonmacdonald says:

    I used lope to get off of nastier stuff. I’ve been on a year and off 6 months and now on another year. I used it mostly to help remove myself from illicit opioids.
    Now I’ve been on my LAST taper ever. 0.5 pills every day. I’ve had a few “stabilization” periods every 10 pills. It’s been very easy on me, only feeling rough sometimes. I went from 120/day to now 58/day.
    I’m planning on a rapid taper when I crest below my psychoactive threshold of about 40 pills. I have a stockpile of Kratom for any symptom relief.
    I do worry having ready access to this powerful opioid when in real pain (I had a broken spine, the lope helped me exercise and remove the pain). I want this to be my last time.
    I’m fighting hard to keep Kratom legal as a much safer alternative in the event of pain.
    I’m really glad to have found this site. Thank you. 🙂

  23. Julius Fucik says:

    Hi. Accidentaly I found your article today. It´s really very helpful for my problems. I come from Slovakia – a little country in the middle Europe without experiences with this type of dependency. I ´m probably the only one patient whose our doctors has seen with this diagnosis (at least according to my past experience). Please, can I have some private questions via email? Thanks a lot..:-)

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