Dextromethorphan is a cough suppressant found in several cold medications. Several U.S. states have begun regulating who, and under what circumstances, can purchase dextromethorphan containing products. Not all states have regulations documented at this time, but this article contains all the states that have documentation.
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed HB 4412, legislation to combat teen abuse of over-the-counter (OTC) medicines containing the cough suppressant dextromethorphan (DXM) by prohibiting the sale of DXM-containing products to minors without a prescription. The new law went into effect on July 1, 2020.
Coughs are a normal symptom of a cold and help the body clear the mucus out of the airway and protect the lungs. Non-drug treatments for coughs include drinking plenty of fluids, especially warm drinks to soothe the throat.
While millions of Americans use products containing DXM to safely treat their symptoms, according to the 2018 National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) annual Monitoring the Future survey, one in 30 teens abuses OTC cough medicine containing DXM to get high.
Recognizing the important role that retailers plan in the effective implementation of state DXM age-restriction laws, CHPA launched a retailer education initiative as part of its Stop Medicine Abuse campaign, aimed at engaging parents and community members about teen abuse of OTC cough medicine. Retailers can download or order free materials for employees and consumers.
The Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA), founded in 1881, is the national trade association representing the leading manufacturers and marketers of consumer healthcare products, including over-the-counter (OTC) medicines, dietary supplements, and consumer medical devices. CHPA is committed to empowering self-care by ensuring that Americans have access to products they can count on to be reliable, affordable, and convenient, while also delivering new and better ways to get and stay healthy. Visit www.chpa.org.
A new law went into effect on January 1st which will ban the sale of powerful cough suppressants to those under the age of 18. The targeted medications contain an ingredient called dextromethorphan (known as DXM) which when consumed in large quantities produces intoxication, a euphoric high and hallucinations.
DXM is contained in many popular over-the-counter medicines including Robitussin-DM, Mucinex-DM, NyQuil and Coricidin. Among teenagers, taking larger than prescribed doses of these medicines in order to get high is known as robotripping, dexing or skittling.
Dale is concerned that kids can still shoplift cold medicines or steal them from home medicine cabinets. He would like to see DXM classified as a controlled substance and available only with a prescription, or required pharmacies to keep it behind the counter. A 2005 law requires pharmacies to keep decongestants that contain pseudoephedrine behind the counter because it is used to make methamphetamine.
The Commission on Human Medicines (CHM) has advised on measures to improve the safe use of cough and cold medicines for children under 12 years. This follows a thorough review by the MHRA of the benefits and possible risks of over-the-counter (OTC) cough and cold medicines for children under 12 years.
OTC cough and cold medicines containing the following active ingredients are affected by the advice: antitussives (dextromethorphan and pholcodine); expectorants (guaifenesin and ipecacuanha); nasal decongestants (ephedrine, oxymetazoline, phenylephrine, pseudoephedrine, and xylometazoline); and antihistamines (brompheniramine, chlorphenamine, diphenhydramine, doxylamine, promethazine, and triprolidine).
Overall these measures include changes to age ranges, introduces new advice on labelling, introduces child-resistant packaging (to help prevent overdoses), and recommends research into how effective the medicines are in children over six years.
Colds and coughs occur frequently in children but they are self-limiting and rarely harmful if left untreated. Moreover, many medicines given to children have not been properly studied in this population. Specific paediatric studies are needed because of differences between adults and children in drug handling or drug effects, which may lead to different dose requirements.
Newly packaged products reflecting the above advice will start to be introduced to pharmacies later this year in time for the 2009/10 winter cough and cold season. In the meantime medicines with the older labelling will continue to be available and can be supplied for use by older children and adults. Immediate withdrawal of products with older labelling is not necessary because of the absence of a safety issue.
There is no robust evidence that cold and cough medicines containing the above ingredients work. Given that there have been some reports of harm with these ingredients, the risks of cough and cold medicines containing them outweigh the benefits.
For children aged over 6 years, the risk from these ingredients is reduced because: they suffer from cough and cold less frequently and consequently require medicines less often; with increased age and size, the risk of toxicity is lower; and they can say if the medicine is working. For these reasons cold and cough medicines containing the above ingredients can continue to be available for these older children, but only through pharmacies where advice can be given.
Teens under the age of 18 may get a surprise if they try to buy some over-the-counter medicines to relieve a nagging cough. The State of California banned sales of medicines containing an addictive chemical for minors as of Jan. 1.
Dextromethorphan (DXM), a common chemical in these medications, can be addictive and is being abused by some teens as a way to become intoxicated. One in 10 teenagers admit to using cough medicine for this reason, according to a 2004 study by the Partnership for a Drug-Free America.
DXM is safe for use as medicine unless it is taken in excessive quantities, according to the offices of State Sen. Joe Simitian (Mid-Peninsula, Santa Cruz) who sponsored the bill. Drinking dangerous amounts of the formerly over-the-counter suppressant is equivalent to drinking alcohol in excess.
There are alternative remedies for relieving coughs without medicines, according to the Mayo Clinic. Gargling saltwater, drinking lots of fluids, turning on the humidifiers or drinking chicken soup are proven to help suppress the common cold.
As of the first of the year, no one under the age of 18 will be able to buy cough medicine in Florida. The new law will be in effect to help kids avoid the dangers associated with abuse of a common active ingredient in many over-the-counter cough medications: dextromethorphan (DXM). At therapeutic doses, DXM helps to manage symptoms of the common cold, but in large doses, it can trigger medical emergency in users.
Though abuse of cold medicine is not common in adults who have legal access to other substances like alcohol, among kids, dextromethorphan has long been a resource for getting high. In large quantities, the substance can cause a euphoric effect among users. Kids may snort it, drink it, or inject it in order to experience that high.
Few parents and caregivers expect that young people in their home would abuse cough medicine and inadvertently miss the signs of abuse as a result. Some indications that may point to abuse of DXM in a loved one include:
Until the law is put into effect and as long as you have over-the-counter cough medications stored in your home, it is important to remain vigilant. There are a number of ways that you can help to prevent abuse of cough medicine, especially around the holidays when adults are often distracted with use of alcohol and family visits, and kids may be more likely to take advantage of the situation and abuse whatever substances they come across. You can:
When most people consider the different types of substances that are most commonly abused, few put cold medicines on the list. Unfortunately, for the under-18 set, because it is not always easy to get alcohol, marijuana, or illegal substances, the tendency is to take advantage of whatever is immediately available. This often means over-the-counter medications, prescription medications, and whatever their parents or caregivers keep around the house (e.g., alcohol, marijuana, or other substances). With repeated use, this can lead to addiction, and even a singular misuse can create a life-changing or life-ending medical emergency.
Specifically, the new law, effective July 1, 2020, restricts sales for cough medicines containing dextromethorphan, also known as DXM. Dextromethorphan is a cough suppressant found in many cough and cold medicines. Police and health agencies report that the products have been abused by teenagers as hallucinogenics.
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed the legislation Nov. 15, 2019. The law bans the sale the cough suppressant to anyone under 18 years old. According to the approved legislation, retailers selling the drug must ask for ID unless the customer appears at least 25 years old. 59ce067264