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Dextromethorphan (DXM) was introduced in 1958 as the first non-opioid cough suppressant and is indicated for multiple psychiatric disorders. It has been the most used over-the-counter cough suppressant since its emergence. However, individuals quickly noticed an intoxicating and psychedelic effect if they ingested large doses. DXM's antagonism at N-methyl-d-aspartate receptors (NMDAr) is thought to underly its efficacy in treating acute cough, but supratherapeutic doses mimic the activity of dissociative hallucinogens, such as phencyclidine and ketamine. In this Review we will discuss DXM's synthesis, manufacturing information, drug metabolism, pharmacology, adverse effects, recreational use, abuse potential, and its history and importance in therapy to present DXM as a true classic in chemical neuroscience.


Elliot W McClure, R Nathan Daniels. Classics in Chemical Neuroscience: Dextromethorphan (DXM). ACS chemical neuroscience. 2023 Jun 21;14(12):2256-2270

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PMID: 37290117

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