As winter comes, flu season begins to come to everyone’s mind. We are vigilant against our fellow co-workers who refuse to take a sick day and come into work with the flu. We look for the flu shots to stay healthy. Our hopes is to navigate the flu minefield everywhere and keep from getting sick. The second worry is that persistent cough that keeps us up at night. That tickle that doesn’t lead to the flu but comes from the slightest cold. As we head to our local CVS or Walgreens, we look for the best over the counter cold medicine to relieve our symptoms.
We are always searching for the best medicine for cough. We will try old world remedies such as honey for cough or even lemon and warm sherry. The desire is to be treated overnight and keep on moving. Our first stop down the isle is usually a cough syrup with dextromethorphan hbr or DXM for short. Dextromethorphan is an antitussive which suppresses cough from minor throat and bronchial irritation. It is a very common drug over the counter drug and usually found in Robitussin, Nyquil, Dimetapp, Vicks, etc.
The next step up is to use promethazine dm. Promethazine is an antihistamine and has strong sedative effects. You will find this drug mixed with dextromethorphan in liquid form. Combined, it gives you the rest you need and temporary relief from coughs. This one will make you very drowsy which is why it is not commonly used.
For a stronger treatment option, a prescription is needed. That is when you go with cough syrup with codeine. The use of codeine helps because it acts as a sedative in lower amounts. Mix codeine with a cough suppressant and you get some good rest without the cough. The worry is the addictive properties of the codeine.
The greatest concern when using over the counter cough medications, is the high you can get from cough syrup. A DXM high can be achieved if you drink a lot of Nyquil. Some common symptoms from using products containing DXM include hallucinations, diarrhea, muscle spasms, black outs, sweating double vision and a feeling of disconnection from the world. The side effects are of a big enough concern that there are various websites about DXM erowid such as:
When DXM is mixed with promethazine, add the following side effects: dry mouth, seizures, short temper, respiratory depression and confusion. We all know what side effects are associated with codeine. Addiction is the greatest worry when using codeine even in low concentrations.
Have you had any side effects from using cough syrup?