When You Take Too Much Robitussin, This Is What Happens

Robitussin can be a fantastic medicine to take when you've been hit by a cold. The Robitussin website lists dozens of varieties for both adults and children that cover a range of symptoms from coughs to chest congestion. Night formulas can help people sleep, and daytime formulas offer relief without compromising a person's ability to focus on things they have to get done. Robitussin even offers "all-natural" options for those who want drug- and alcohol-free formulas.

Many Robitussin varieties contain dextromethorphan (DXM). While this ingredient can do wonders for the sick, it is sometimes used for other purposes. American Addiction Centers explains that dextromethorphan rose in popularity when codeine became a controlled substance. Unfortunately, DXM has addictive properties and, in high enough doses, can cause symptoms similar to those caused by PCP or ketamine. In high enough doses, DXM can also be fatal, but there are several noticeable symptoms a person will exhibit before reaching that stage.

Symptoms of DXM use

Silver Pines Treatment Center states that Robitussin can cause undesirable symptoms, even when used as intended. Such symptoms include skin rash, drowsiness, dizziness, headache, upset stomach, nausea, vomiting, and lightheadedness. When taken in excess, the symptoms of DXM ingestion become more apparent. Individuals might experience slurred speech, withdrawal symptoms, and blood in their urine. Fever, chills, vomiting, extreme pain in the back and side, sweating, rapid eye movement, muscle spasms, and overdose are all possible side effects. American Addiction Centers adds that high blood pressure, agitation, auditory and visual hallucinations, dissociative episodes, and numbness are also symptoms of dextromethorphan intoxication. 

As unpleasant as many of these side effects are, some people continue to use DXM for the hallucinogenic side effects and the feeling of being high. Long-term misuse can lead to addiction and dependence, according to American Addiction Centers. It can also lead to a DXM tolerance, meaning that people have to take more to become high, increasing their risk of overdose. The Mayo Clinic notes that it is critical to follow your doctor's orders or the directions on your Robitussin's label when it comes to dosage. Taking more than the recommended daily amount of dextromethorphan is when the more extreme sensations — and dangers — set in.