Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
South Med J. 1993 Oct;86(10):1151-3.

Abuse of over-the-counter dextromethorphan by teenagers.

Author information

  • 1Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston 29425-0742.


Dextromethorphan, the d-isomer of the opiate agonist levorphanol, has none of the analgesic or sedative effects associated with the opiates and is approved for over-the-counter use as an antitussive. It is available, in various combinations with other medications, in nonprescription cough suppressant and common cold formulations, and its availability in the United States is not controlled. In this paper we have reported two cases of recreational use of dextromethorphan-containing cough syrup by two unrelated teenage boys. Despite the safety of this medication when used at the recommended dosage, there have been cases of "recreational" use of dextromethorphan as well as death by overdose. Although usually thought to be nonaddictive, dextromethorphan produces a substance dependence syndrome, and physicians should be aware of its abuse potential, particularly by youths.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Loading ...
    Support Center