Dextromethorphan (DXM) As a Drug of Abuse

Dextromethorphan (DXM)As a known fact, most of the drugs that are now commonly abused began as clinical drugs. There are clinical drugs that might have recreational properties in that when a person takes more than recommended dosage he may experience some of the effects of the drug. These may include hallucination and euphoria. For this reason these drugs can be misused in large scale if measures are not taken to strictly regulate their use. Dextromethorphan is one of the drugs that have been used in clinical setup but are known to be rich in recreational properties.

Dextromethorphan (DXM) was used as a cough depressant in the past. Most of the over the counter cough medicines has it as an ingredient. It works in these drugs as an antitussive (cough suppressant) and expectorant in other words it works as an agent that promotes the removal of mucus from the respiratory tract. It also has other medical uses. These may include the temporary relief of sinus congestion, runny nose, cough, sneezing, itching of the nose and throat, and watery eyes caused by hay fever, allergies, cold, or flu (influenza). In fact most of the over the counter cough medication has DXM as the most active component. When the recommended dose is taken, DXM has few adverse side effects, and has a long history of safety and effectiveness. However when taken in huge doses beyond the description it has some serious side effects. It causes hazy images and poor vision plus it also causes hallucinations. This drug, owing to its hallucinatory effects has been highly abused.

Over the past few years, cases related to use of DXM for non-medical purposes has risen and still very many people are using this drug for all the wrong reasons. Experts opine that the rise in abuse of this drug is attributed to the ease of purchasing nonprescription cough drugs from drug stores and in the internet. The drug is also legal and so even those who use it for wrong purpose are not afraid of the authorities even if they are found to be in possession of DXM. This gives it a more reason to be used as opposed to other hallucinogens that are considered illegal in most states. The FDA approves the use of DXM for medicinal purposes basing on the fact that when it is used within the prescribed doses then it can not cause any health hazard. However, it can be a damaging substance. Recreational users intentionally exceed suggested doses to experience a sense of heightened perceptual awareness, altered time perception, and/or visual hallucinations. Also, users often abuse the drug in combination with other drugs. The interaction between DXM and other substances e.g., alcohol, acetaminophen, MDMA/ecstasy, and other OTC cough medicines. When DXM is used with other drugs for recreational purposes, it produces a synergistic effect that can be very dangerous. Ingredients of cough medicines other than DXM, like acetaminophen, are extremely hazardous when consumed in high doses and can cause liver damage, heart attack, stroke, and death. For these reasons it is very important to restrict oneself to the prescribed dosage to avoid all the other undesirable effects.

DXM as Sigma receptors agonists

This drug works in a number ways in suppressing coughs. Firstly it has pharmacodynamic similarities to the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonist ketamine. It is used as a cough depressant as it has been found to be effective yet very safe when used within the required doses. However this drug does not bind on the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors only but also binds to sigma-1 (σ1) receptors, which are believed to be protein targets for a potential new class of antidepressant medications.

Due to its hallucinatory effects it has become abused in that instead being used for medicinal purposes people now use it as a recreational drug. When taken a person will experience visual hallucinations and radically altered states of consciousness, often experienced as pleasurable and illuminating. This intense feeling of happiness and euphoria is what make many people to abuse DXM. It takes a person to a mental trip where every boundary of the mind seems overcome. However in case of overdose with the good feelings of happiness and euphoria a person may get feelings of anxiety and revulsion after using DXM. However there are other side effects associated with it.

Dextromethorphan (DXM)

Dextromethorphan side effects

Every drug has a side effect when abused. However the drugs will induce different reactions in people. As for DXM, it is very safe when used within the prescribed doses. However when a person uses this drugs in higher doses he will have to go through certain problems that are induced by the drug. There is however an innocent unintentional overdose under which a person may suffer such symptoms as; difficulty breathing, swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.  When this happens, you should stop using dextromethorphan and call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects: severe dizziness, anxiety, restless feeling, or nervousness, confusion, hallucinations and slow, shallow breathing.

Apart from the unintentional overdose that may be termed accidental a person may overdose to get the feelings of euphoria and hallucinations from this drug. However this may result in serious health problems both short-term and long-term.

Finally, Dr. Dalal Akoury (MD) is an experienced doctor who has been in the frontline fighting drug addiction. He runs a website that equips readers of better ways to overcome not only drug addiction but also serious health problems that have caused nightmares to the world population. Get in touch with her today and learn more.

Dextromethorphan (DXM) As a Drug of Abuse