Dextromethorphan

This medication is prescribed to relieve patients suffering from coughs caused by the common cold, the flu and other respiratory conditions. Dextromethorphan is in a class of drugs known as antitussives. This class of drugs reduces the brain’s activity that induces coughing. DXM functions as a dissociative anesthetic.  DXM is available in liquid form, chewable tablet form, dissolving strips, extended-release suspension liquid and in lozenge form. Unfortunately, teenagers and middle schoolers who engage in dextromethorphan abuse like to “chug” cough syrup (known as robiting, robo-tripping, or skittling ). Taking the drug in large doses can lead to death.

There are several over-the-counter cough suppressants that contain dextromethorphan including Alka-Seltzer, Bayer, Comtrex, Contac, Robitussin and others. Side effects can last up to six hours depending upon the amount consumed and the combination of drugs taken

Symptoms of Dextromethorphan Side Effects

  • Dizziness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Drowsiness
  • Nervousness
  • Restlessness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach Pain
  • Rash
  • Heightened Perceptual Awareness
  • Altered Sense of Time
  • Lethargy
  • Slurred Speech
  • Hyperexcitability
  • Hypertension
  • Hallucinations

Cost of DXM Abuse to Society
“According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, there were 52,991 case mentions and 40,229 single exposures related to DXM in 2008. The Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN ED) reports that an estimated 7,739 emergency department visits were associated with non-medical use of dextromethorphan in 2006, 10,410 visits in 2007 and 7,988 visits in 2008.”
(source: http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drugs_concern/dextro_m/dextro_m.htm)

The U.S. Department of Justice has reported an increase in DXM abuse due to the illicit sale of the powder. Illegal labs are manufacturing DXM in tablet form as well, but these tablets tend to be mixed with ecstasy or methamphetamines making this combination extremely dangerous.

Withdrawal Symptoms of Dextromethorphan (DXM)

  • Insomnia
  • Dysphoria (a generalized sense of discontent)
  • Unable to discern reality
  • Confusion
  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Severe Weightloss
  • Gastrointestinal Problems
    (source: http://www.cesar.umd.edu/cesar/drugs/dxm.asp)

Addicts can use between three to four bottles of dextromethorphan daily.  Withdrawal symptoms should be managed by an physician certified in addiction treatment and detox should be immediately followed by an addiction treatment program.

Slang Terms
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