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Pittsburgh man overdoses on anti-diarrhea medicine

According to a recent release by the Allegheny County Medical Examiner, a Pittsburgh man has died of lopermide poisoning. Lopermide is an ingredient found in anti-diarrhea medicine, such as Imodium.

The Medical Examiner released their findings Tuesday, and said Arjun Patel, 29, died in November in a home on Jamesboro Drive in Fox Chapel.

According to U.S. News, some opioid addicts are using lopermide as a way to get high.

Dr. Michael Lynch of the Pittsburgh Poison Center tells WTAE,  “Since 2015 through the end of 2017… We saw a 167% increase in calls related to loperamide toxicity, with more than half of those people needing to go to the hospital,” said Dr. Michael Lynch.

The FDA issued a safety alert in January about the health risks of lopermide.

The FDA warns if someone you know has been taking loperamide, call 911 if the person:

  • Faints
  • Has a rapid heartbeat or irregular heart rhythm
  • Is unresponsiveness, meaning that you can’t wake the person up or the person doesn’t answer or react normally

There are many organizations battling opioid addiction in the Pittsburgh area. If you or someone you know has an opioid addiction, check out these resources:

  • Allegheny County Department of Human Services Behavioral Health Office: 412-350-3328

  • Prevention Point Pittsburgh  – a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing health empowerment services to injection drug users:  412-247-3404

  • PA Stop.org is the Commonwealth Prevention Alliance Campaign to stop opiate abuse. PA Stop is designed to educate Pennsylvanians about the risks of prescription painkiller and heroin use, the relationship between painkiller and heroin use, and what to do when you need help.

  • UPMC’s re:solve Crisis Network – provides round-the-clock, mental health crisis intervention and stabilization services for residents of Allegheny County in Pennsylvania. Contact re:solve Crisis Network 24 hours a day, 365 days a year Telephone: call any time and speak with a trained counselor at: 1-888-7-YOU CAN (1-888-796-8226).

Click here for ways you can access Naloxone.