FDA ( Food and Drug Administration ) is concerned about the abuse of Dextromethorphan ( DXM ), a synthetically produced ingredient found in many over-the-counter ( OTC ) cough and cold remedies.
The Agency is working with other Health and Law Enforcement Authorities to address this serious issue and warn the public of potential harm, after five recently reported deaths of teenagers that may be associated with the consumption of powdered Dextromethorphan sold in capsules.
Although Dextromethorphan, when formulated properly and used in small amounts, can be safely used in cough suppressant medicines, abuse of the drug can cause death as well as other serious adverse events such as brain damage, seizure, loss of consciousness, and irregular heart beat.
Dextromethorphan abuse, though not a new phenomenon, has developed into a disturbing new trend which involves the sale of pure Dextromethorphan in powdered form. This pure Dextromethorphan is often encapsulated by the dealer and offered for street use.
Dextromethorphan has gradually replaced Codeine as the most widely used cough suppressant in the United States .
It is available OTC in capsule, liquid, liquid gelatin capsule, lozenge, and tablet forms. When ingested at recommended dosage levels, Dextromethorphan is generally a safe and effective cough suppressant.
Source: FDA, 2005