This extensive case study is a particularly difficult one for me to read and add to the list. A twenty-five year old woman died from repeated lope abuse. Twenty-five. Just a kid, really. How many of us know someone twenty-five years old? Someone who graduated college, maybe, and just started her life? Did she have a boyfriend (or girlfriend)? How many people did she have to hide her addiction from? What were her hopes, her dreams? What was her favorite music?
None of that matters now because she died. From an over-the-counter drug that she was taking because somebody on the internet told her it was ok. That’s a tragedy.
She was treated a few times for syncope before it was finally discovered that she was a loperamide abuser. Despite surviving the worst episode, like me, she started using again; unlike me, her next visit to the hospital was her last one. There were several interesting insights in this case that will hopefully lead to further research.
People DIE from this. YOU don’t have to.
Need I say it again? Loperamide is just a cheap withdrawal shortcut that has real addictive and deadly cardiotoxic qualities. Don’t get caught up in it! Don’t use loperamide to get off traditional opiates or to stave off withdrawal. If you get addicted to it (and let’s face it, as a drug abuser, you probably will), it can kill you. If not the first time, then the next time you play Russian Roulette with the lope. If you have an addition to opiates, see a doctor. It will suck, but not as much as death from your next big mistake. Be smart and start making a series of decisions that will make your life better. See a professional, admit what’s going on, and get real help NOW.
I did. And because I put on my big girl panties and asked for help, I survived to tell the tale — but so many do not.
Evbu O. Enakpene, M.D., 1; Irbaz Bin Riaz, M.D., MM, 2; Farshad M. Shirazi, MS, M.D. PhD, 3; Yuval Raz, M.D., 4; Julia H. Indik, MD, PhD, 2
1 Sarver Heart Center, University Of Arizona Medical Center, Tucson, Arizona.
2 Sarver Heart Center, University Of Arizona Medical Center, Tucson, Arizona.
3 Center for Pharmacology, Toxicology Education & Research, University of Arizona College of Medicine Phoenix, Arizona; Arizona Poison & Drug Information Center, University of Arizona College of Pharmacy, Tucson, Arizona.
4 Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, University of Arizona Medical Center.
The American Journal of Medicine
Accepted Date: 27 May 2015
Excerpt: “The source of a 25-year-old woman’s puzzling signs and symptoms could not be determined until a search of her home yielded the answer….Her ECG irregularities resolved within 1 week, and her pacing thresholds normalized. After she recovered, she finally admitted to chronic abuse of loperamide, which she had denied during previous hospitalizations. Although she had successfully completed a drug rehabilitation program in the past, she began using loperamide after learning about it from Internet sources and friends. Her care required an interdisciplinary approach, including psychosocial counseling and social services. Upon discharge, she was in good condition. Two months after discharge, the patient was readmitted in cardiopulmonary arrest after continued loperamide abuse. Despite being placed on percutaneous femoral venoarterial extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, she had no significant improvement. She died 18 hours after admission.”