By Dr. Mallika Marshall

BOSTON (CBS) — Imodium is a popular over-the-counter medication used to treat diarrhea, but the FDA is calling on changes to Imodium’s packaging due to concerns about abuse of the drug.

Health officials say high doses can lead to serious cardiac problems and even death.

The active ingredient in Imodium, loperamide, has opioid-like effects and some people use it to get a quick high or to help minimize withdrawal symptoms from other opioids, which requires large doses which not only causes debilitating constipation but also potentially fatal heart rhythms and even death.

The FDA hopes that if Imodium is offered in individual blister packs instead of as dozens or hundreds in a single bottle that people won’t be able to abuse it as easily.

The recommended dose of Imodium, no more than four caplets at a time, is safe but some are taking 100 tablets a day for weeks.

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