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Monday, September 20, 2010

No Prescriptions for Cough Medicine

There many teenagers that abuse cough medicine to achieve some kind of hallucination; it has been dubbed "robo-trippin" because of the cough medicine Robitussin which has Dextromethorphan (DXM) as an active ingredient. Another common cold medicine that is abused quite frequently has been called "Triple Cs" which is derived from the Coricidin brand name of cough & cold medicine; the pills have three C's printed on them. DXM exists in almost all cough suppressants, in low doses there are not hallucinogenic properties which is why it has continued to be sold over the counter without a prescription. Unfortunately, there have been a lot kids abusing these medicines and the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) had requested that the FDA consider requiring prescriptions for Dextromethorphan. Requiring a prescription would really reduce the risk of people getting hurt from the drug, DXM by itself is not that dangerous, but, problems arise when people mix DXM with other drugs from acetaminophen all the way to amphetamines.

The DEA said that it was concerned about abuse among teens and the steady increase of emergency room visits due to overdoses, DXM can be very harmful to the body when used in conjunction with other substances. Fever, kidney failure, high blood pressure, and even death can occur if the drug is used inappropriately. Sadly, Associated Press reported Sept. 14 that a panel of experts advising the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recommended that cough medicine continue to be sold without a prescription. The panel's vote was 15-9 against requiring a prescription for these drugs, because of the burden it would put on doctors and pharmacies. "For me there was no data to show us that scheduling this product would decrease abuse," said panelist Janet Engle, a professor at the University of Illinois.

It seems like private interests were in mind with the voting process which is why nothing has changed, cough medicine companies would lose millions if people needed a prescription for drugs containing DXM. The FDA has not made a final decision, but, the administration usually sides with the recommendations of its advisory panels.

A video from ABC News covers this story and more that parents can watch for:


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