Dextromethorphan is an antitussive, or cough suppressant, often abbreviated DXM or simply DM. It is generally found in medications used to treat coughing caused by the common cold or flu. A variety of over the counter medications include this active ingredient, though prescription medications may be available from a doctor that include higher concentrations of it. The expected and intended effects of dextromethorphan is that it will suppress coughing, though the side effects of dextromethorphan can be somewhat unpleasant, and can cause dizziness, a feeling of drowsiness, or stomach irritation. It is typically given in liquid form, though chewable tabs may also be available.
It is important to be aware of the side effects of dextromethorphan because people who are taking this medication should not drive or operate machinery. Reaction time is slowed, and it could be dangerous, in addition to the potential dangers of feeling dizzy or sleepy. In addition, this medication has the potential to cause severe allergic reactions in people of all ages, but especially in young children. This may manifest as hives or a rash, in addition to swelling of the lips, tongue, and throat, which can lead to difficulty breathing or death if it is not immediately treated.
When dextromethorphan is used contrary to its indicated dosage, or for recreational use, side effects of dextromethorphan can be severe and may include hallucinations, vomiting, and a fast or irregular heartbeat. It may also cause breathing difficulties and hypertension, among other side effects. This drug should only be taken as indicated by following the dosage instructions on the bottle. Any other use can be very dangerous or even deadly.
These are only some of the possible effects of dextromethorphan, and each person may respond to this drug differently, so it is important to monitor reactions carefully to be sure an adverse reaction is not occurring. In addition, this medication is often combined with others in cold or flu medicines, such as pseudoephedrine, among many others. This can cause different reactions as well, so even if one has taken dextromethorphan in the past without any adverse side effects, it is still necessary to be careful. For instance, combining this medication with pseudoephedrine, a very common drug used for nasal congestion, can cause irritability and trouble sleeping in some people. It may also cause more severe effects such as seizures and trouble urinating.