|DXM Addiction, Abuse and Treatment|
DXM itself is a synthetically produced substance related to codeine, but without the analgesic, sedating, or constipating effects of opiates. It has replaced codeine as the most widely used over-the-counter cough suppressant. It is sold under the brand names Benylin DM, Pertussin, Vicks Formula 44 and Robitussin Pediatric among others. Used for this purpose it is both extremely safe and very effective. DXM, though, is one of the few over-the-counter medicines with any serious recreational use/abuse potential. Used recreationally, often on the club circuit, it is referred to as "Robo", "X" or "rome".
DXM has been in use in the USA for approximately 30 years. In the mid 1980s, though, several deaths following ingestion of large doses of dextromethorphan prompted the Swedish government to restrict this compound to prescription-only status. It is, however, still widely available over-the-counter in the United States. The pharmaceutical potential of dextromethorphan does not appear to have been fully explored yet. According to recent studies (performed predominantly on animals), the substance also has shown promise in fighting both epilepsy and Parkinson's disease. Other studies though, have indicated possible fetal abnormalities and brain damage in test cases. Remarkably, very little is known definitively about DXM or its long-term effects.
When used as intended for cough suppression, typical dosages run about 10 to 20mg. every 4 hours or 30mg every 6 to 8 hours. When used recreationally, dosages are generally much higher, in the range of 250 to 1500 mg. taken as a single dose.
Source: B. Brands, B. Sproule, and J. Marshman (Eds), Drugs and Drug Abuse: A Reference Text, 1998, Ontario: Addiction Research Foundation, pp. 571-2.
The method of use varies as the drug is available over-the-counter in capsules, lozenges, tablets, oral suspension and cough syrup.
Source: Physicians Desk Reference
Lower doses cause euphoria, stupor, excitability and changes in muscle reflexes.
Large doses in the range of 250 to 1500 mg are known to cause euphoric and hallucinatory effects. Proper dosages are, however, very specific to the person taking the drug. There is a fine line between a dose causing pleasant effects and one that may cause negative effects ranging from mildly unpleasant-- skin irritation, shortness of breath, dizziness, temporary sexual dysfunction, nausea and hangovers-- to more serious ones like coma, brain damage, liver damage, respiratory distress and death. Generally, the more serious side effects are a result of combining DXM with alcohol and other drugs.
Physical Dependence: Unknown
Psychological Dependence: Moderate
As has been noted, little is known about DXM with respect to long-term use and addiction. DXM is thought to be a moderately habit-forming substance with no physical addiction. It should be noted, though, that virtually any substance can be addictive, to a greater or lesser degree, depending on the user. It is a generally accepted notion among treatment professionals that the addiction, whether physical or psychological, is the problem, not the specific substance. Below are some treatment programs that may be useful for DXM users as well as others:
More Information on Dextromethorphan: