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DXM Dosage
by Erowid

DXM comes in many different forms. The most common are various over-the-counter cough suppressants (including Robitussin, Delsym, Pertussin, Drixoral, Vicks Formula 44, and several generic brands). Each brand contains different quantities of dextromethorphan, generally in the 20-30 mg per dose-unit (liquid measure, pill, capsule) range, as well as a variety of other potentially dangerous drugs. It is easy to mis-calculate dosages, so be careful and check to ensure that the product does not contain other dangerous active ingredients such as CPM (see Coricidin Warning below).

The chart below shows approximate recreational dosages for pure dextromethorphan hydrobromide (HBR), measured in milligrams (mg). Extended release dextromethorphan polistirex has different dosage and duration.
Oral DXM Dosages
Light100 - 200 mg
Common200 - 400 mg
Strong300 - 600 mg
Heavy600 - 1500 mg
Risk of Death2,500 - 20,000 mg 1

Duration : 4 - 8 hours (DXM HBR)
Duration (extended release) : 6 - 12 hours (DXM Polistirex)

Some users report that DXM dosages are affected significantly by bodyweight and lighter users should start with lower dosages. Because everyone reacts differently, it is a better idea to start at lower dosages and slowly work up rather than jumping in at a higher dose. Some people are very sensitive to the effects and may be overwhelmed by dosages that are minimal for others.

Coricidin Cough and Cold (CCC or Triple-C) Warning: One of the most common products used as a source of DXM is CCC. This product also contains CPM, which can be dangerous at high doses. Most of the hospitalizations and health problems we hear about resulted from the use of Coricidin Cough and Cold.

Acetaminophen Warning: DXM products containing acetaminophen should not be used recreationally. High doses of acetaminophen can be fatal.

DXM products containing other medicines can be harmful if taken in doses above the recommended limits. Dangerous interactions can occur.

Notes #
  1. DXM by itself is fairly safe at doses recommended for medical use (10-50 mg) and becomes increasingly dangerous with dose increases, although there are only a few documented deaths associated with DXM taken with no other substances. Long-term health risks of high-dose DXM use are not well documented or quantified. A handful of fatalities have been reported from DXM-alone (more are reported from DXM combined with other drugs), but the dosages taken for these fatal overdoses are uncertain.

  2. Two overdose deaths were reported by Rammer, et al., but the dosages were uncertain. Chronic, daily use of DXM dosages of over 500 mg have been reported to Erowid by several individuals, and in a medical study participants were given over 900 mg per day without serious adverse reaction (!?). Walker, Hunt, 1989

  3. As with any powerful psychoactive substance, high doses are more likely to induce difficult experiences, negative side effects, allergic responses, etc. Many people experience severe itching at doses over 100 mg, which can precipitate anxiety attacks.

  4. See also: IPCS InChem's DXM References

Every individual reacts differently to every chemical.
Know your Body - Know your Mind - Know your Substance - Know your Source.

Erowid's dosage information is a summary of data gathered from users, research, and other
resources and should not be construed as recommendations. Individuals can respond
differently to the same dosage. What is safe for one can be deadly for another.

Start low with new substances.
Have trusted companion/guide/sitter/friend present and/or available.