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NyQuil is a popular over-the-counter cold and flu medicine that is available as a liquid or a capsule. Nyquil is an over-the-counter medicine that contains a combination of ingredients, including DXM, which is a cough suppressant that teenagers are abusing at an alarming rate. Nyquil is designated to treat symptoms caused by bronchitis, sinusitis, allergies, flu and the cold virus. Nyquil contains dextromethorphan (DXM) acetaminophen, oral antihistamines and decongestants. While Nyquil is safe when used as directed for the short-term, the prolonged use or abuse of Nyquil can pose some serious health risks, including addiction. Some of the ingredients in Nyquil can have long-term effects on the body if the medication is abused. The basic formulation of Nyquil is designed to provide temporary symptomatic relief so that people can continue with everyday activities while they get better.The FDA is weighing restrictions on Robitussin, NyQuil, and other cough suppressants to curb cases of abuse that send thousands of people to the hospital each year. According to the FDA, approximately 8,000 emergency room visits in 2008 were due the abuse of Nyquil and other cold medications. "Because of the drug's perceived safety, ease of availability, and desired psychoactive effects, Nyquil is often sought after by those seeking to abuse this over the counter cold medicine to alter their mental state" states the FDA review. The active ingredients in NyQuil have been associated with abuse, liver damage and psychotic episodes, especially if abused or combined with alcohol. Someone suffering from any type of liver disease or liver-related problem should use extreme caution when taking Nyquil because this product contains acetaminophen. Tolerance and physical dependence may develop with long-term use or abuse of Nyquil.
By far the most sought after ingredient in Nyquil by teens abusing the medication is Dextromethorphan, also known as DXM. Dextromethorphan works at suppressing the receptors in the brain that control coughing. Some individuals abusing Nyquil will break open the gel cap so the ingredients are released at once rather than gradually. According to the Center for Substance Abuse Research, when taken in high amounts above the recommended dosage on the package, DXM, an ingredient in Nyquil and other cold medicines, has been reported to create dissociative, psychedelic and euphoric effects on the body. To some individuals abusing Nyquil, this can be an attractive feature of this over the counter drug. It can become addictive because of this; therefore some people seek to abuse Nyquil to get high rather than to treat their cold or respiratory illness. An individual overdosing on DXM, contained in Nyquil, may appear to be intoxicated or in a stupor. There may be a fever, numbness of toes and fingers, and facial redness. The person may lose all muscle coordination, stagger, and experience visual distortions, hyperactivity, restlessness, shallow breathing, vomiting, irritability, changes in heartbeat, seizures, and coma. At the highest levels of overdose, individuals have lost their ability to move their arms and legs and to talk, and have suffered strokes and permanent brain damage, and in rare instances coma or death. Today, individuals are abusing Nyquil, and other cold medications in significant doses, and becoming addicted at alarming rates. If you or someone you know is abusing Nyquil, or any other chemical substance, seek drug treatment at a drug rehab center.