Recreational use of dextromethorphan, “Robotripping”—A brief review

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Abstract

Background:

Dextromethorphan (DXM) in combination with antihistamines and/or pseudoephedrine is widely available as an over-the counter remedy commonly used for relief of colds and cough. In supra-therapeutic amounts, DXM has psychoactive effects. These cough preparations have been adopted by many young users of recreational drugs for these effects.

Objectives:

This paper aims to highlight the increasingly prevalent practice of Robotripping, review pharmacokinetic and dynamic data and discuss potential tolerance and withdrawal from the substance as well as treatment modalities.

Methods:

A Medline search (1985–2015) for literature concerning the DXM was conducted. This was supplemented by references gleaned from recent epidemiological surveys and credible online sources to ensure most up to date information is gathered.

Conclusion and Scientific Significance:

Use in amounts exceeding those recommended, a practice known as “Robotripping”, may result in a toxidrome of psychomotor agitation, hallucinations and paranoia best characterized as Intoxication Delirium. Increasing misuse places greater numbers at risk. Providers should be alert to such presentations and be aware of methods for managing the symptoms. With chronic use, tolerance and withdrawal has been noted along with prolonging psychiatric sequelae. (Am J Addict 2016;25:374–377)

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