Dextromethorphan: Composition, Therapeutic use, Treatment. Dextromethorphan effects. Reactions with other drugs.

Last modified: Saturday, 30. May 2009 - 3:32 pm

Official names: Benylin Adult Formula Cough Syrup, Benylin Pediatric Cough Suppressant, Benylin Expectorant, Cheracol-D, Cough-X, Creo-Terpin, Delsym Cough Formula, Diabe-TUSS DM Syrup, Duratuss DM, Fenesin DM, GG-DM SR, Glycotuss-DM, Guaibid DM, Guaifenex DM, Halotussin DM, Hold DM, Humibid DM, lophen DM NR, Mucobid DM, Naldecon DX Liquigel, Pertussin CS Children’s Strength, Pertussin DM Extra Strength, Respa-DM, Robitussin Maximum Strength Cough Suppressant, Robitussin Pediatric Cough Suppressant, Safe Tussin 30, Scot-Tussin DM, Sucrets 4-Hour Cough Suppressant, T-Tusin DM, Touro DM, Trocal, Tuss-DM, Tussi-Organidin DM NR, Vicks 44 Cough Relief
Street names: Roboing, DXM, robo, skittles, vitamin D, dex, tussin
Drug classifications: Not scheduled, antitussive


Key terms

ANTICONVULSANTS: Drugs that relieve or prevent seizures.
ECSTASY: The street name for MDMA, an illegal club drug that is mildly hallucinogenic.
HYPERSENSITIVITY: An unusual response to a given stimulus.
M EDU LLA: The lower portion of the brain stem.
RESPIRATORY DEPRESSION: The slowing of a person’s breathing rate. Severe respiratory depression can cause a person to go into a coma or even stop breathing.



Dextromethorphan is an agent used to help control coughs that are associated with influenza or colds. It has the cough-suppressing effects of its distantly related family, the opiates, but does not produce the significant effects on the central nervous system as they do. When used at therapeutic, or recommended, doses, dextromethorphan does not produce respiratory depression properties or other significant side effects that are common in most opiates. Cough syrups sold over the counter often have dextromethorphan as one of the key ingredients.
Dextromethorphan is not used to treat coughs that are chronic in nature, such as those associated with asth       ma, smoking, or emphysema, nor is it used in cases where there is a significant amount of mucous or phlegm associated with the cough. Dextromethorphan produces its cough-suppressing effects by depressing the cough center in the medulla region of the brain.
Dextromethorphan is available without a prescription in the United States. However, most patients receive special instructions from their physician on how to use this medication properly.
There is increasing concern over the street abuse of dextromethorphan, which is available in a variety of products. There have been a few reports of abuse and a handful of case reports of overdose and death. Nevertheless, dextromethorphan was specifically left out of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) of 1970 and has not been added to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) scheduling process despite these reports. This decision was made because dextromethorphan is not considered a narcotic and is generally thought to have a low addiction potential. However, the DEA is monitoring dextromethorphan and may add it to its list of controlled substances at some point in the future.
Abusers of dextromethorphan are sometimes referred to as “syrup heads.” When large amounts of dextromethorphan-containing solution are ingested, it is often referred to as “robodosing” or “robo-tripping.” Heavy ingestion of dextromethorphan may cause abusers to stagger, sometimes referred to as the “robo-walk.” The decreased cognitive function associated with abuse is sometimes referred to as “drippy.”

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