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Dextromethorphan is also known as DXM. DXM is a synthetic psychoactive substance that was originally classified as an opioid because of its structural chemical similarity to codeine. However, DXM is no longer considered an opioid. DXM is a cough suppressant that is an active ingredient in pharmacy-only drugs. According to research reports, these funds are also misused.
If DXM is taken in therapeutically effective doses, it has only a weak sedating (calming) effect. After oral ingestion (swallowing), DXM is converted in the body into the active ingredient dextrophan. It attacks the cough center in the brain and thus centrally dampens the urge to cough. Intoxication only occurs in the event of an overdose, although the required amount can vary greatly from person to person and depends on genetically determined differences in processing in the body. Consumers report hallucinations, motor disorders and intoxication similar to an alcohol intoxication. Depending on the dose, the intoxication lasts up to 6 hours.
With increasing dosage, unpleasant and dangerous effects occur. These include nausea, vomiting, dizziness and hot flashes at low doses up to panic attacks, complete loss of motor skills and balance, and psychotic symptoms with paranoia at higher to very high doses. If drugs that contain DXM are overdosed, risks also arise from other active ingredients they contain. Overdosing can lead to very serious health problems. Possible consequences are coma, epileptic seizures, brain damage and cardiac arrhythmias.
According to case reports, addiction syndrome can develop in DXM. This includes psychological as well as physical withdrawal symptoms.
Due to severe side effects and life-threatening complications, DXM should never be combined with other drugs and medications. DXM and MAOIs (antidepressants) taken together can be fatal. When taking sedatives and sleeping pills, the calming and respiratory depressive effect can be intensified, so that in extreme cases it can lead to respiratory arrest. Even with previous illnesses, further complications can result. The main ones to be mentioned are asthma, liver disease and breathing problems.
DXM is also traded on the Internet. According to reports from the United States, five teenagers died of a drug purchased from the Internet because it was incorrectly declared as DXM. There are also reports from the USA that consumers use a special method to reprocess the over-the-counter cough suppressants. The method known as "Agent Lemon" is used to separate the active ingredient dextromethorphan from the other substances contained in the preparations. The crystalline end product is called "Chrystal Dex". Serious overdosing is possible because the degree of purity cannot be controlled.
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