DXM is an abbreviation for the drug dextromethorphan, which is an effective cough suppressant ingredient found in many 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. When abused, DXM has dissociative effects and can cause serious damage, like illicit drugs.
“Whenever you want it to go away you want to fall asleep. But you’re so dizzy, you can’t fall asleep. I felt like was brain dead, but I just didn’t know it. Towards the end I was all alone. I lost myself.”
“You don’t want to take more, but you take more. I didn’t feel like I had the strength to do anything. You feel dirty. I just did it because I felt like I needed it. My personality definitely changed. I was very angry."
“I had horrific experiences. My motor skills had just been shot. I had this terrible vomiting. I felt my entire body sting from head to toe. I was holding onto my sanity by a thread. And then the thread basically snapped. I felt like I was never going to have my sanity back.”
At dangerously high doses dextromethorphan can have dissociative effects. Since the 1950s dextromethorphan (DXM) has been used primarily as a safe and effective cough suppressant ingredient and is found in many 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.
Unfortunately, some people are abusing DXM by using these medicines at doses that exceed their safe and effective levels – possibly causing serious damage to their bodies. They think that because DXM is usually found in over-the-counter medicines then it must be harmless; just an easy and safe way to get high. But it's not.
When abused, DXM can cause serious damage. Also, many over-the-counter medications that contain DXM may also contain other ingredients such as antihistamines, analgesics, or decongestants. High doses of these mixtures can significantly increase the harmful effects, and may for example, include potentially fatal liver injury, cardiovascular effects and over-sedation. Cough medicine is also sometimes abused with other drugs, including alcohol, which can cause additional harmful effects.
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 hallucinations, dissociative sensations and loss of motor control.
Yes, in large enough quantities, DXM can suppress the central nervous system which could directly result in death. Some drugs that people take to get the DXM high also include other ingredients that can interact in your body and can have dangerous consequences. And remember, abusing DXM can cause physical and behavioral effects which can lead to accidents that can result in death.
DXM can be found in cough syrup, gel caps and other formulations that are available without a prescription.
Robo, Skittles, Triple C, Tussin, Dex