Menstuff® has compiled the following information on dextromethorphan (DMX)


At dangerously high-level doses Dextromethorphan is dissociative, like PCP and ketamine. Since the 1950s it has been used primarily as a safe and effective cough suppressant ingredient found in over-the-counter cough medicines. When taken according to directions, products containing DXM produce few side effects and have a long history of safety and effectiveness.

But these days, some teens are abusing this medicine and causing serious damage to their bodies. They think because it's usually found in over-the-counter medicines that it must be harmless, just an easy and safe way to get high. But it's not. Taken in recreational doses, which far exceed recommended doses, DXM can cause serious damage.

Even more serious when abused, over-the-counter medications that contain detroxmethorphan often contain antihistamine and decongestant ingredients as well, and high doses of these mixtures can seriously increase the harmful effects. Cough medicine is also sometimes abused with other drugs, including alcohol, which can cause other dangerous effects on the mind.

Side Effects: Vomiting, cardiac arrest, muscle spasms, belirium

What are the short-term effects of DXM abuse?

The effects of DXM abuse vary with the amount taken. Common effects can include confusion, dizziness, double or blurred vision, slurred speech, impaired physical coordination, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, rapid heart beat, drowsiness, numbness of fingers and toes, and disorientation. DXM abusers describe different "plateaus" ranging from mild distortions of color and sound to visual hallucinations and "out-of-body," feelings of detachment from the environment and self, sensations, and loss of motor control.

What are its long-term effects?

Cough medications including DXM can contain other ingredients, such as acetaminophen, which can be very dangerous when taken in large quantities.

Could a person really die from taking cough medicine?

Yes, at high enough doses, DXM alone can suppress the central nervous system. If that happens your brain can stop telling your lungs to breathe. Some drugs that people take to get the DXM high also include other ingredients which can interact in your body and have dangerous consequences. And remember, extremely high doses of DXM can induce a hallucinatory state which can lead to "accidents" that result in death.

Need help?

Even if you just have a simple question about DXM, there are places you can go to get a straight answer. And if you're looking for more – such as counseling or treatment options – we can help point you in the right direction to find whatever you're looking for.

If you'd like to seek help and counseling, for yourself or a friend who may be having problems with DXM, here are some toll-free numbers and web sites that may be useful. View toll-free numbers and web sites.

If you're looking for treatment options, you can search this database of over 11,000 alcohol and drug abuse treatment programs to find one near you. Find a treatment center

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