Drugs and Society - Vol. 2

Drugs and Society - Vol. 2

Drugs and Society - Vol. 2

Drugs and Society - Vol. 2

Excerpt

Dextromethorphan (3 methoxy-17-methylmorphinan) is a nonnarcotic opioid agent used to relieve a dry, nonproductive cough caused by a cold, the flu, or other conditions. It is the active ingredient in many popular commercial cough remedies in the United States. Although it is a derivative of morphine, DXM has no pain-relieving qualities. When used at the recommended dosage, DXM is a safe and effective cough suppressant. However, when used in high doses, it can depress the central nervous system. As such, a person using this drug may experience difficulty regulating body temperature, which could result in reduced sweating and increased body temperature, putting the person at risk of heatstroke. Other effects may include euphoria, blurred vision, hallucinations, delusions, nausea, abdominal pain, vomiting, irregular heartbeat, increased blood pressure, numbness of fingers and toes, headache, loss of consciousness, and, rarely, death.

Approved by the Federal Drug Administration in 1954, DXM has been widely available since the 1960s. It was developed as an alternative cough suppressant that would be less addictive, have fewer side effects, and be more readily available than codeine, which had been the treatment of choice until that time.

Abuse of nonprescription products containing DXM has become a problem among adolescents and young adults, particularly those who are part of the club scene, where it is often passed off as Ecstasy. In fact, DXM is more like ketamine, producing an out-of-body sensation at high doses. Products containing the drug are available over the counter and without a prescription, making them relatively inexpensive and easy for adolescents to obtain. Pharmacies and other retailers have become aware of this trend, however, and many have begun regulating the availability of DXM preparations. Customers often must request the products from the pharmacist, and logs are sometimes kept of purchases.

Dextromethorphan is administered as capsules, lozenges, and syrups. Pills and capsules illicitly . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.