Header

UZH-Logo

Maintenance Infos

Dextromethorphan withdrawal and dependence syndrome


Mutschler, J; Koopmann, A; Grosshans, M; Hermann, D; Mann, K; Kiefer, F (2010). Dextromethorphan withdrawal and dependence syndrome. Deutsches Ärzteblatt International, 107(30):537-540.

Abstract

Background: The N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) antagonist dextromethorphan has been available in pharmacies without a prescription since 1954 as an antitussive agent. There is an alarming increase in reports of its abuse. Dextromethorphan is avidly taken, mainly by young people, as a psychoactive drug. The currently available data yield incomplete information about the extent of the problem and its significance for addiction medicine in Germany.

Case presentation and course: We report the case of a 44-year-old man who became dependent on dextromethorphan through years of abuse, buying the substance for himself without a prescription in German
pharmacies. He told us he had taken it regularly for six years. He had become dependent on dextromethorphan, ultimately taking it in a dose of 1800 mg daily. This led him to overt neglect of his work and leisure activities. A urine sample taken on admission to the hospital was found to contain dextromethorphan. During inpatient detoxification, he developed an vegetative withdrawal syndrome consisting of craving, diaphoresis, nausea, hypertension, and tachycardia. He was treated on our ward for three weeks, and a stay in a residential detoxification facility was planned thereafter.

Conclusion: Dextromethorphan is a psychotropic substance that carries a potential for abuse and dependence. On the basis of the currently available data, its reclassification as a prescription drug should be
considered.

Abstract

Background: The N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) antagonist dextromethorphan has been available in pharmacies without a prescription since 1954 as an antitussive agent. There is an alarming increase in reports of its abuse. Dextromethorphan is avidly taken, mainly by young people, as a psychoactive drug. The currently available data yield incomplete information about the extent of the problem and its significance for addiction medicine in Germany.

Case presentation and course: We report the case of a 44-year-old man who became dependent on dextromethorphan through years of abuse, buying the substance for himself without a prescription in German
pharmacies. He told us he had taken it regularly for six years. He had become dependent on dextromethorphan, ultimately taking it in a dose of 1800 mg daily. This led him to overt neglect of his work and leisure activities. A urine sample taken on admission to the hospital was found to contain dextromethorphan. During inpatient detoxification, he developed an vegetative withdrawal syndrome consisting of craving, diaphoresis, nausea, hypertension, and tachycardia. He was treated on our ward for three weeks, and a stay in a residential detoxification facility was planned thereafter.

Conclusion: Dextromethorphan is a psychotropic substance that carries a potential for abuse and dependence. On the basis of the currently available data, its reclassification as a prescription drug should be
considered.

Statistics

Citations

12 citations in Web of Science®
14 citations in Scopus®
Google Scholar™

Altmetrics

Downloads

56 downloads since deposited on 31 Jan 2011
7 downloads since 12 months
Detailed statistics

Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Psychiatric University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Clinical and Social Psychiatry Zurich West (former)
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:2010
Deposited On:31 Jan 2011 14:57
Last Modified:03 Aug 2017 15:26
Publisher:Deutscher Ärzte-Verlag
ISSN:1866-0452
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.3238/arztebl.2010.0537
PubMed ID:20737060

Download

Preview Icon on Download
Preview
Filetype: PDF (Verlags-PDF)
Size: 102kB
View at publisher