Intended for healthcare professionals


Use and abuse of loperamide . . . and other stories

BMJ 2020; 368 doi: (Published 06 February 2020) Cite this as: BMJ 2020;368:m346

Loperamide as a drug of abuse

Loperamide is an over-the-counter drug frequently bought to treat travellers’ diarrhoea. At therapeutic doses, it exerts its action peripherally through activation of mu-opioid receptors in intestinal tissue. However, at higher doses it can cross the blood-brain barrier and lead to mood changing effects of the sort seen with other mu-opioid agonists such as morphine. Online surveys from the UK and US suggest that non-medical use of loperamide is widespread both for its euphoric properties and to mitigate the unpleasant effects of withdrawal from other opiates (QJM doi:10.1093/qjmed/hcz215).

The fragility index

The fragility index has …

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