Will Dextromethorphan Appear on a Drug Test?


Dextromethorphan is easily accessible today.  It is found in many widely known medications and cough and cold products.  In fact, Dextromethorphan is present in over 100 different kinds of over the counter medications; available in liquid and tablet form.  What makes this substance particularly noteworthy?

Dextromethorphan has antitussive and cough suppressant properties when taken in recommended small dosage.  However, when abused, it can cause effects similar to the illegal substance; ecstasy.  This means that in unregulated amounts, Dextromethorphan will cause psychological effects, hallucinations, paranoia, and more.

When abused, Dextromethorphan (also known as DXM) will give the user sedative-like effects.  Complications from slowed breathing are one of the many dangerous side effects.

Who are the ones Abusing Dextromethorphan?

Who Are Abusing Dextromethorphan?

Though Dextromethorphan may considered an obscure substance to abuse, it’s misuse has widely reported. A statistic from the NSDUH indicates where in fact most cases of Dextromethorphan abuse can be found

 Statistics from the NSDUH show that abuse of dextromethorphan is at its highest prevalence among 12-to-17-year-olds. o Just under 2% of teens in this age group report abuse of OTC cough-cold products in the past year.

May have speculated that the misuse of DXM or Dextromethorphan may be due to its accessibility.  This may be true because Dextromethorphan can be found in many over the counter medications such as cough syrup.  Today it’s not illegal to purchase – as long as the buyer is over the age of 18.

In fact, due to the growing number of youngsters misusing cough syrup and other medications containing Dextromethorphan, many states have outlawed the sale of these products to minors.

On January 1, 2012, California became the first state to ban the sale of cough syrups containing DXM to minors. The state of California also prohibits the possession of OTC codeine without a valid prescription. (

Is Dextromethorphan Addictive?

Is Dextromethorphan Addictive?

Dextromethorphan (DXM) created from a derivative of morphine, although it is not an opioid. The recommended dosages for the Dextromethorphan are between 15-30 mg.  It recommended to be taken within a four-hour period.

The average adult can actually consume 4 doses safely to reduce and alleviate coughing. Unfortunately, those who abuse the drug have often consumed much more within a shorter time period creating severe side effects.

Dextromethorphan causes relaxation and sedation.  Using DXM releases serotonin and dopamine, hence the potential for addiction. reports on the FDA findings regarding the levels of abuse that occur with DXM. In the most recent release of its analysis of the effects of DXM abuse, the DEA listed DXM as a “drug of concern.” The four plateaus of abuse listed by the DEA include:

  • The first plateau: The most basic level of abuse occurs when individuals take between 100 mg and 200 mg. The DEA reports that dosages at this level result in feelings of stimulation.

  • The second plateau: The next plateau occurs when individuals take dosages between 200 mg and 400 mg. The most common effects of using the drug in this dosage range are visual hallucinations and euphoria.

  • The third plateau: The third plateau occurs at dosage levels between 300 mg and 600 mg. Individuals taking DXM at this level will experience hallucinations, euphoria, significant perceptual distortions of objects in the visual field, and significantly impaired motor functioning and coordination.

  • The fourth plateau: The effects at this plateau occur in individuals who take more than 600 mg of DXM. The effects include extreme sedation, hallucinations, and dissociative effects. Dissociative effects occur in individuals who have experiences where they feel that they are leaving their body or that things around them are not real.

It’s recommended to avoid using Dextromethorphan with other prescription medication without consulting a doctor.  A result of this misuse can result in the risk of serotonin syndrome, which is caused by the use of too many serotonergic medications.

Like any drug, the more the user consumes, the higher the risk for addiction.  The more the addiction occurs, the more likelihood of long term damage to the body.

Will Dextromethorphan Show up on a Drug Test Kit?

Will Dextromethorphan Show up on a Drug Test Kit?

As it generally takes 24-72 hours for Dextromethorphan to leave the system, many are still concerned whether or not they will pass a drug screening if they have consumed the drug recently.  Does Dextromethorphan show up on a standard drug test?

Generally speaking, Dextromethorphan is not one of the drugs detected on a standard 12 Panel urine drug test.  A 12 Panel Urine Drug Testing cup detects several kinds of drugs.  This is one of the most popular Drug Testing Kits available as it detects up to 12 different substances.  These include:

  • Amphetamine
  • Barbiturates
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Buprenorphine
  • Cocaine
  • Ecstasy
  • Marijuana
  • Methadone
  • Opiates/Morphine
  •  Oxycodone
  •  Methamphetamine
  • Tricyclic Antidepressants

Some Urine Drug tests like the 12 Panel Urine drug tests detect PCP as well.  You can find this on the listing for 12 Panel Urine Drug Test + PCP on 12 Panel Now’s site listing.  Why is this important?

Though no studies have performed,  some individuals have reported having taken Dextromethorphan and submitted a drug screen soon thereafter.  Though it’s anecdotal, some have seen false positives for Opiates as well as for PCP.

As a Drug Test Administrator, it’s important to consider this when evaluating your drug test results.  Dextromethorphan usually eliminated from the body within a day; it’ll stay in the urine for up to two days.  If a drug test returns positive for PCP or Opiates, it’s good to consider the cut-off levels.  A copy of 12 Panel Now’s Cutoff Levels can be found here:

We also provide the nation’s most affordable Drug Testing Supplies, including Drug Testing Cups and Strips both for personal, and medical use.

We’re  Here to Help!

Here at 12 Panel Now, we are happy to provide information and spread awareness regarding these topics and more!  Every Tuesday, we publish a Blog with information on current events, as well as insights regarding our products!

We also provide the nation’s most affordable Drug Testing Supplies, including Drug Testing Cups and Strips both for personal, and medical use.  Our selection of Urine Drug Testing cups is one of the nations most affordable and reliable.  Urine Drug Tests only take minutes to perform and evaluate.

If you are concerned about your levels or would like to test someone you know, we have Single Use Drug Test Kits available as well.  If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact us or send us an email!

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