High on Mucinex – “Robotripping”
Mucinex DM® is an over-the-counter medication used to alleviate coughing caused by bronchitis, colds, or other respiratory illnesses. It suppresses coughs. Abuse is primarily for the sedating effects of dextromethorphan (DXM).
- This drug is one of many OTC drugs abused for its sedating effects.
- It does not suppress coughs due to smoking.
- This medication contains guaifenesin (expectorant) and dextromethorphan (cough suppressant).
- Do not crush, chew, or break a tablet or capsule.
- Guaifenesin – 600 mg
- Dextromethorphan – 30 mg
Drinking alcohol while taking a drug will increase the severity of the side effects. It impacts the central nervous system, especially staying awake, walking, or driving a car. Additionally, abusers have a higher risk of overdosing with alcohol since they may forget how much they have taken and consume more while drinking.
- Convulsions, coma, and death could occur when mixing alcohol with any OTC medication containing DXM.
DXM is a morphine drug. It acts as a dissociative anesthetic by increasing serotonin levels and other neurotransmitters in the brain involved with mood and motivation when taken in higher than prescribed dosages. Also, it stimulates the NMDA receptors, an action known to induce ketamine-like dissociative anesthesia.
Abuse may create a psychological addiction to the drug but not physical dependence. Although less addictive than codeine, it can produce antidepressant discontinuation syndrome (ADS), commonly seen in people who abruptly stop taking selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). ADS symptoms include nausea, vomiting, sweating, headaches, insomnia, joint pain, and dizziness.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency currently does not consider DXM a substance posing an abuse or addictive threat. It may be due to the fact it is not physically addicting. However, with increasing numbers of teens abusing OTC medications containing dextromethorphan, the DEA could begin investigating its addictive properties.
Teenagers often use street terms including:
- Orange crush
- Red devils
- Vitamin D
People who use it to get high may take triple this dosage or more in a 12-hour time frame. Users may also combine it with alcohol or other drugs to enhance the effects.
These are the most common side effects of abusing DXM;
- extreme drowsiness
- feeling “outside” the body
- whole-body numbness
Overdosing may cause one or more of the following:
- Restlessness, agitation
- Rapid speech
- Increased sense of confidence
- Glassy eyes/dilated pupils
- Double vision
- Profuse sweating
- Teeth grinding
- Tachycardia (extremely rapid heartbeat)
- Shallow, quick breathing
- Muscle cramps/spasms
At the first sign of an overdose call 911 immediately
There are currently more than 140 OTC cough and cold drugs containing DXM including:
- Alka Seltzer Plus
- Tylenol Cough & Cold
Coricidin and Mucinex D.M. are the two most popular DXM-containing medicines abused by teens. Current studies reveal that one in four teens know somebody who uses Mucinex D.M. or other OTC drugs containing it to get high.
(image courtesy of Mucinex.com)
Questions? Call 866-MUCINEX (1-866-682-4639)