Dextromethorphan (DXM) is a widely used over-the-counter (OTC) medication primarily found in cough syrups and cold medicines. It is classified as a cough suppressant or antitussive and is commonly used to relieve coughing associated with the common cold or respiratory infections.

Key points about dextromethorphan:

  1. Cough Suppression: It is used to suppress coughing by acting on the cough center in the brain. It helps reduce the urge to cough without addressing the underlying cause of the cough (such as an infection).
  2. OTC Availability: It is available in various forms, including cough syrups, lozenges, capsules, and tablets, and is often found in combination with other cold or flu medications.
  3. Mechanism of Action: It works by affecting the brain’s cough reflex. It does not contain opioids, but it shares some similarities with opioids in how it affects the brain.
  4. Dosage and Usage: The dosage of dextromethorphan depends on the specific product and the individual’s age and medical condition. It’s essential to follow the instructions on the medication label or as directed by a healthcare professional.
  5. Side Effects: Common side effects may include dizziness, drowsiness, nausea, vomiting, and constipation. In high doses or when abused, dextromethorphan can cause more severe side effects such as hallucinations, confusion, increased heart rate, and respiratory depression.
  6. Precautions: Dextromethorphan should be used cautiously in individuals with certain medical conditions, such as liver problems, respiratory conditions, or those taking certain medications. Avoid combining it with other substances that can cause drowsiness or interact negatively with it.
  7. Abuse Potential: In large doses, dextromethorphan can cause hallucinations and dissociative effects. Some individuals may misuse it for its psychoactive effects. Abuse of dextromethorphan can be dangerous and may lead to serious health risks.
  8. Pregnancy and Breastfeeding: Consult a healthcare professional before using dextromethorphan during pregnancy or while breastfeeding to assess potential risks and benefits.

It’s important to use dextromethorphan responsibly and according to the recommended dosage. If coughing persists or is accompanied by other symptoms, it’s advisable to consult a healthcare professional for proper evaluation and treatment. Additionally, caution should be exercised to prevent misuse or abuse of this medication.

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