Dextromethorphan (DXM) Abuse

As a parent or care giver you want what is best for your love one; but what if the very medicine you give them to help them feel better is being abused by them to get high? Today, more and more young people are turning to over the counter medications to get high and escape from their day to day life. Some teenagers and young adults are intentionally trying to get high by taking large amounts of dextromethorphan cough medicines. While the intentional abuse of otherwise safe household products by teens is not limited to over the counter medications, parents should closely monitor their children’s activities and use of household chemicals and medications.

Download Free Cough Medicine Abuse Brochure

Parents and Care Givers Need to Know…

  • Over the counter medicine, just like prescription medications, are serious substances and should be taken only as directed
  • Dextromethorphan containing medicines, like all medicines, must be stored in a safe, secure location.

Signs that Over the Counter Drug Abuse May be Taking Place…

  • Empty cough medicine boxes or bottles in the trash of your child’s room
  • Boxes or bottles missing from the medicine cabinet
  • Visiting pro-drug web sites that provide information on how to abuse dextromethorphan
  • Changes in friends, physical appearance, sleeping, or eating patterns
  • Declining grades
  • Loss of interest in hobbies or favorite activities
  • Hostile and uncooperative attitude
  • Unexplained disappearance of household money
  • Unusual chemical or medicinal smells on your child or in his or her room

The Side Effects of Dextromethorphan (DXM) Include…

DXM abusers say that a cough medicine high is similar to an ecstasy-like high. They may experience mild distortions of color and sound, strong visual hallucinations, out-of-body sensations, confusion, slurred speech, and the loss of motor control. The effects can be worsened if the DXM-containing cough medicine being abused also contains other ingredients to treat more than just coughs, if it is used in combination with other medications or taken with alcohol and/or illegal drugs.

Other serious side effects can include:

  • Delusions
  • Panic attacks
  • Memory problems
  • Blurred vision
  • Stomach pain, nausea, and vomiting
  • High blood pressure and rapid heart beat
  • Numbness of fingers and toes
  • Drowsiness and dizziness
  • Fever and headaches
  • Rashes and itchy skin
  • Loss of consciousness

Medicines containing Dextromethorphan (DXM)…

There are more than 100 over the counter medicines that contain DXM; either as the only active ingredient or in combination with other ingredients. These include Alka-Seltzer Plus Cold & Cough Medicine, Contac, Coricidin HBP Cough and Cold, Delsym, Dimetapp DM, Mucinex DM, PediaCare cough medicines, certain Robitussin cough medicines, Sudafed cough medicines, Theraflu cold and flu medicines, Triaminic cough medicines, Tylenol Cold medicines, Vicks 44 Cough Relief medicines, certain Vicks Dayquil and Nyquil LiquiCaps, and Zicam, to name a few. In addition to the name brand over the counter medications listed here there are countless store brands (generic) that contain DXM as well.

Download Free Cough Medicine Abuse Brochure

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