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What is DXM?

dextromethorphan chemical formula
  • Description of DXM?

    Dextromethorphan (DXM) is a synthesized substance that is present in an array of over-the-counter (OTC) medications. It performs as an antitussive and expectorant (cough suppressant and congestion relief, respectively). DXM is also used to provide temporary relief of sneezing, runny nose, cough, sinus congestion, itchy throat and nose, and watery eyes that can be caused by cold,  allergies, or influenza (the flu).

  • What is the Scientific Name of DXM?

    • Dextromethorphan Hydrobromide
    • DXM HBr (part of the class of drugs called Dissociative Anaesthetics)
  • What is the Chemical Formula of DXM?


What is the Origin of DXM?

chemical formula dextromethorphan DXM was approved by the FDA in 1958 after testing demonstrated its effectiveness as an antitussive, providing an alternative to the highly addictive codeine. In the 1960s, an OTC tablet with the brand Romilar was the first medication released with DXM as an ingredient. By 1975, the abusive potential of DXM had been recognized, and Romilar was removed from the over-the-counter market. However, the 1970 Controlled Substances Act (CSA) specifically excluded DXM so it was still legal to produce and use it. A few years Romilar’s removal from OTC sales, pharmaceutical manufacturers introduced refined DXM products such as Dextrotussion, Vicks-44, and Robitussin. These cough syrups were deliberately given a bad taste, especially when taken in large doses, in an effort to reduce recreational use.

Currently, dextromethorphan is still excluded from the Controlled Substance Act (CSA), but administrators warn that it might be added to the schedule if increased abuse merits it. The reason it was excluded from the CSA is due to the fact that all the optical isomers of opiates listed in Schedule II are automatically listed as Schedule II substances. Because DXM is an optical isomer of the Schedule II opiate levomethorphan (without demonstrating typical opiate qualities), the exemption was necessary in order for it to remain a non-controlled substance.

What are the Common Street Names of DXM?

  • C-C-C
  • Dex or Dexing
  • Dextro
  • Drex
  • Drix
  • Gel
  • Groove
  • Mega-Perls
  • Orange Crush
  • Poor Man's X (Ecstasy) or PCP
  • Red Devils
  • Red Hots
  • Robo
  • Robo-Dosing, -Fizzing, -Trippin’
  • Rojo
  • Rome
  • Skittles
  • Sky
  • Syrup
  • Triple C’s
  • Tussin
  • Velvet
  • Vitamin D
  • X

How is DXM Used?

How is DXM Used

The typical medical-use dose for users who take cough syrups that contain DXM (e.g. Robitussin) for actual health reasons is 10-20 mg every 4-6 hours, or 30 mg every 6-8 hours. But a single dose for recreational users may range between 240 to 1500 mg. Some users have been known to consume as many as three or four bottles a day, resulting in a multitude of negative side effects. Users recommend (often via Internet sites aimed at young people) that the syrup be drunk quickly, so that they can absorb a sufficient amount of DXM from it before they vomit, which will inevitable occur as a result of drinking the large volume of the syrup that’s necessary in order to experience intoxication. While syrup is the traditional form of ingestion, powder, capsule, and pill forms of DXM can be purchased over the Internet. These are either taken orally (swallowed) or snorted, and produce an effect similar to the syrups without unpleasant side effects that come when you have to drink a large amount of it at once. Users might also extract DXM from syrups and gel capsules, so they can inject or orally consume the active ingredient.

How Long Does DXM Stay in Your System?

Depending on the amount of DXM ingested, and whether or not it is used in combination with other drugs or chemicals, effects generally last for six hours.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Short-Term DXM Use?

  • What are the Short-Term Effects of DXM Use on the Body?

    • Abdominal Pain
    • Confusion
    • Dizziness
    • Double or Blurred Vision
    • Drowsiness
    • Impaired Physical Coordination
    • Nausea
    • Numbness of Fingers
    • Numbness of Toes
    • Rapid Heartbeat
    • Slurred Speech
    • Vomiting
  • What are the Short-Term Effects of DXM Use on Behavior?

    • Disorientation
    • Dissociative
    • Loss of Motor Control
    • Sensations
    • Visual Hallucinations

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Long-Term DXM Addiction?

  • What are the Long-Term Effects of DXM Use on the Body?

    • Death
    • Heart Attack
    • Liver Damage
    • Stroke
    • Tolerance to DXM
  • What are the Long-Term Effects of DXM Use on Behavior?

    • Aggressive Behavior
    • Inattention
    • Mood Changes
    • Psychological Dependence

How to diagnose if you are Addicted to DXM?

Signs that a person may be dependent on dextromethorphan include, but are not limited to:
  • Change in Behavior
  • Decrease in School or Work Performance
  • Hiding Over-the-counter Drugs in the Personal Belongings
  • Mood Swings
  • Over-the-counter Drugs Disappearing From the cabinet
  • Taking Cold Medications When not Ill
  • The Appearance of Being Drunk
  • Trouble Speaking
  • Trouble Walking Straight

How to diagnose if you are Addicted to DXM?

  • Anxiety
  • Cold Flashes with Goose Bumps
  • Diarrhea
  • Insomnia
  • Muscle or Bone Aches
  • Restlessness
  • Sever weight loss
  • Upset Stomach
  • Vomiting

How is DXM Addiction Treated?

DMX addiction cannot be treated with pharmacological means. A psychological addiction will develop if DXM is abused regularly, but there are proven ways to overcome a dextromethorphan dependency successfully. Most dextromethorphan addiction treatment programs should include several modes of behavioral therapies in order to meet the various psychological requirements of the patient. Counselors at a DXM rehab center will have the skill and knowledge needed to completely treat an addiction, and proper detox usually requires inpatient treatment. It’s common for a DXM addiction to accompany other substance addictions, as well as eating or mood disorders. Residential treatment programs most often provide the level of care necessary to treat DMX addiction when co-occurring disorders exist.

What is the Extent of DXM Use?

The extent of DXM abuse has not been fully measured. However, increased recreational abuse across the U.S. has caused concern, and many local, state, and federal offices have increased their monitoring of the drug. DXM could be added to the CSA if increases in abuse continue.

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