Drug Policy

No Prescription Requirement for Robitussin

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Today, by a vote of 15 to 9, an FDA advisory committee recommended against requiring a prescription for cold remedies containing the cough suppressant dextromethorphan, even though teenagers have been known to get high by chugalugging the stuff. Since the case for scheduling DXM was quite weak (as I explained earlier this month), this vote shouldn't be surprising. But since psychoactive substances and children were involved, it is. Personally, I can't stand DXM, even in therapeutic doses, but I will defend to the death your right to relieve your cough (or achieve "dissociative sedation") with it.

The Consumer Healthcare Products Association, which failed to save me from state and federal restrictions on pseudoephedrine, celebrates its DXM victory:

Today, 40 million American households turn to dextromethorphan-containing OTC medicines each year to relieve their cough symptoms. More common than heartburn and severe headaches, cough burdens the sufferer, families, and society (as a very rapid way to spread virus).  Because of cough's widespread prevalence and effects, it's vital for people to have OTC access to safe and effective self-treatment. Dextromethorphan is in nearly 90 percent of OTC cough suppressants sold today. We agree that dextromethorphan should not be scheduled as a controlled substance.

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  1. At least you people will be cough-free while you’re having your drug orgies and stealing from your parents to pay for your DXM habits (and, of course, driving over Bill O’Reilly’s kids).

  2. Well, I don’t know about you guys, but I think what the FDA really needs to ban are Roombas – ever since I got mine, I’ve constantly been Robo-trippin’!

    (rim shot)

    1. You just went on the list, buddy.

    2. You can have my Roomba when you pry it.. actually, it doesn’t work well anymore, fuck it. But if you try to take my Dyson, things will get very ugly.

      1. Dyson’s have balls. I think the FCC should ban Dyson vac’s because soo many children are being exposed to balls.

      2. Don’t even think about taking my iDog.

  3. I was ready to go postal last time I had a really bad cold and couldn’t find an open pharmacy to get ephedrine/pseudoephedrine and had to settle for the placebo they sell in its place (even the doc admitted it has almost no effect). If Robotussin had been banned too I don’t know what I would have done (probably stayed in bed not moving).

    1. If kids want to get mildly buzzed off of Robotussin, then they should be allowed to do so.

      Look out plastic model enthusiasts, model glue is next, followed by gasoline.

    2. the placebo they sell in its place (even the doc admitted it has almost no effect)

      As a sufferer of both allergies and post-nasal drip, I must agree that phenylephrine is an utterly useless substitute for pseudoephedrine. And DXM is the phenylephrine for coughs. It’s counterpart guaifenisen (an expectorant as opposed to a suppressant) is much more effective, but surprisingly harder to find…even with all this uproar over DXM the last few years.

      1. guaifenisen (an expectorant as opposed to a suppressant) is much more effective, but surprisingly harder to find…even with all this uproar over DXM the last few years.

        ???
        They are most often paired together in OTC medications.

        1. Mucinex (brand or generic) is guaifenisen packaged in pill form. Last I saw it was all over the place – you can even buy a bottle of 1000 pills for $40 at your local Costco!

        2. Actually, there are DXM medications with and without guaifenisen. Without will give you a nice trip, with will make you sick.

          1. Yes. In fact, I thought they had begun adding guaifenisen to almost all DXM-containing drugs as a way to prevent taking a lot at once.

            1. They have. Many people feel that it’s better that you get sick (or die) than high. It’s the same reason they put tylenol in hydrocodone.

              1. that’s part of the reason. part of the reason is that tylenol potentiates opiates.

      2. Mucinex, dude.

      3. As a sufferer of both allergies and post-nasal drip, I must agree that phenylephrine is an utterly useless substitute for pseudoephedrine. And DXM is the phenylephrine for coughs. It’s counterpart guaifenisen (an expectorant as opposed to a suppressant) is much more effective, but surprisingly harder to find…even with all this uproar over DXM the last few years.

        Guafenisen is an expectorant, it decreases the viscosity of mucous, making the cough more productive. DXM is a cough suppressant. The two have different functions and is the reason for their combination in products.

        And phenylephrine is worthless.

  4. This is an anti-drug war victory I can get behind.

  5. Our children need to be sent a message. This one:

    If you squint at the drug store racks hard enough, you can find non-“gel” DXM pills that will get you super fucked up without all the Robo-colored barfing and falling asleep standing up and shit.
    Trip responsibly, li’l shoppers!

    1. No, the kids need to be sent the message that “dissociative sedation” really isn’t all that fun, EXCEPT when you have a cold.

      To each his own, i guess, but If I ever have kids, I’m going to make sure their recreational substances are actually, you know, recreational.

      1. Done properly, DXM can be a lot of fun. But it’s often taken out of order. It really shouldn’t be tried until you’ve done a few hallucinogens first. That experience will help you stay on top of the high. Unlike other drugs I’ve taken, this one seems to require my attention in order for it to remain pleasant. But if you stay on top of it, 8-10 hours of schizophrenia that you know you’re coming out of can be a lot of fun. Remember when you were a young child, and you could get so into your role-playing games that for a time you almost believed them? It’s a lot like that. As such, babysitters for at least the first trip are recommended. Also, as cent says, taking the pills over the syrup is definitely the recommended course of action. You just have to be careful that DXM is the only ingredient in them. And, as always, different people have different body chemistries, and results may vary.

        1. the issue as far as danger goes is not the DXM . it’s the acetaminophen in many of the OTC remedies. if morons take metric assloads of cold medications containing acetaminophen (tylenol) in order to get a high dose of DXM,*that* is very dangerous and even life threatening.

          but it says nothing about whether DXM should be made a legend drug, or god forbid – scheduled.

          i don’t think DXM should be, given that i am against the drug war in general, but even if i wasn’t – with DXM it’s a no

          fwiw, i’ve dealt with scores of attempted suicides by drugs – the ONLY ones that were successful? tylenol.

          not opioids, not SSRM’s etc. tylenol

          and it’s a nasty way to die

          1. Thank you officer McGruff for that rousing discourse over the dangers of tylenol. Any particular reason that was a reply to me?

            1. i am letting people know that DXM is benign as fuck. not much, if anything to worry about. But, if you are going to take metric assloads of DXM, do it via a preparation that does not have tylenol in it.

              hth

              i’ve seen the after effects of tylenol overdose.

              considering that MOST OTC drugs containing DXM also contain APAP, it’s a logical tangent.

              1. But, if you are going to take metric assloads of DXM, do it via a preparation that does not have tylenol in it.

                From my comment:
                You just have to be careful that DXM is the only ingredient in them.

                Thank you for the redundancy.

                1. You are welcome…

                  Signed,
                  Dunphy
                  CEO
                  Dept. of Redundancy Dept.

  6. “Since the case for scheduling DXM was quite weak (as I explained earlier this month), this vote shouldn’t be surprising. ”

    The surprising thing is that it was 15-9

    How effed up is that? 9 of those dip shits thought basic cough syrup ought to be gate kept by a fucking doctor?

    Yeah doc, I got a little cough

    OK – here’s a prescription. Now that’ll be 483 from your insurance company, plus another 23 for the prescription Robo.

    1. Believe me, I don’t want to see you for that crap either. The way medicine was 30-40 years ago, if you dropped by my office, I’d tell you to go pick up some cough syrup, charged you five bucks or so, and give you a lollipop on your way out. Now, I have to document a complete physical exam, ask you about chest pain and shortness of breath, file a claim with your insurance, and hope and pray I didn’t screw up the forms so I can get paid. Not only that, because I work in an ED with the wonders of EMTALA, I cannot tell you that your runny nose isn’t an emergency. Barf.

    2. So, only 37.5% of the Advisory Committee is personally invested in pharma/insurance stocks?

    3. it’s not that surprising. when the anabolic steroid control act of 1990 was passed (making anabolic androgenic steroids a controlled substance) both the DEA and the AMA testified against scheduling. and they STILL scheduled them. for the children.

      and saying it’s “basic cough syrup” is meaningless. that’s like saying cocaine or opium is “basic painkiller”. well, no. also, fwiw, technically DXM *is* an opioid

      but DXM clearly shouldn’t be made prescription, let alone made a controlled substance.

  7. Now can I please get pseudoephedrine without showing my driver’s license? Or in airport vending machine — which is when I really need it to avoid ear injury?

    No? Purple drank it is.

    1. water…
      sugar…
      purple…

    2. Agreed, pseudophedrine is awesome on airplanes. Makes flying about a million times better.

  8. Now when will they make that alchohol-based Grand Marnier tasting stuff with 35mg of meperidene per-teaspoon cough syrup OTC?

    If you can get it via ‘script I recommend using a tablespoon…or two.

    1. the best cough medicine i ever had was tussionex.

      chlorpheniramine and hydrocodone

      hydrocodone isn’t quite oxycodone… but it aint bad.

  9. So I have all this crystal meth, I need to find a way to make Sudafed out of it.

    1. LOL. Have you tried just putting it into a Sudafed bottle?

  10. I guess this means that there is no hope at all for Viagra to become an OTC drug.

    I guess I can kiss my goal of maintaining a boner for a complete month good bye.

  11. OTOH one of the reasons keeping codeine cough syrup on prescription is the availability of the non-narcotic non-prescription alternative, DM. If DM became a prescription drug, doctors would more freely prescribe codeine cough syrup.

    1. codeine is such a weak as fuck opioid, i really don’t see what the big deal is. also, the codeine cough stuff etc that is available OTC in canada, has metric assloads of APAP. Some people do a cold water extraction to filter out the APAP but even straight codeine is weak as fuck.

      Canada has a lot of suckitude, but god knows it’s not cause there are hordes of codeine fiends running around.

      A *lot* of people here in WA state bring some codeine over when they return. Customs could not care less.

  12. I just bought some Sudafed tonight for a cold I’m suffering. The requirement to hand over my driver’s license really galled me. It took a measure of self-control to not yell at the pharmacist. It is extremely antagonizing to be treated as a criminal. I used to think that the way to fix this was to try to get “good” politicians elected. I’ve given up on that now. The politicians are a reflection of the society. Society is what must change. I think that means we all have to speak up when this kind of stuff is being considered or is encountered in the world. We have to talk to friends, relatives and neighbors about the craziness when we see it, and we have to be prepared to explain why “for the children” doesn’t cut it.

    1. Give up. It’s part of a War now. Once something becomes part of a War (poverty, drugs, illiteracy, smoking, terror) there’s no going back. Americans hate to lose, and we especially hate to lose wars. So we’ll keep fighting these wars if it kills us.

  13. That’s weird, I just wrote a report on the effects of DXM on heart rate today.

  14. Andjust think thats the good stuff! LOL

    http://www.private-data.tk

  15. I don’t understand the danger? I thought the real danger was teenagers sending $20 or $30 off for some Wine Club’s cult Merlot and waiting two weeks for it to arrive as an interstate shipment. As we all know, that is preferable to having someone’s big brother go up to the beer distributor and get them a case of Coors to pound down.

    1. i’m not drinking any FUCKING MERLOT!

  16. This is great news! It really pisses me off they weren’t successful in their attempt to keep pseudoephedrine OTC without signature. When I buy pseudoephedrine these days, my local super market pharmacy’s log book has only a few names in it, and 4 of them are mine. We need them to keep stopping the FDA from taking our OTC medicine away!

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