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How Long Does Dextromethorphan Stay in Your System?

How Long Does Dextromethorphan Stay in Your System?

Dextromethorphan (DXM) is a cough suppressant that’s used in many over-the-counter (OTC) cough medicines.

When used as a cough medication, DXM works by curbing the cough reflex in the brain to reduce coughing. The maximum daily dose of DXM is 120 milligrams (mg), which is usually taken in several doses throughout the day. Recently, a trend called “robotripping,” or DXM abuse, has become more popular among teens and young adults. Reinforced by drug trends on social media apps like TikTok, it is crucial to provide more awareness on the dangers of DXM effects and how it impacts the body. Keep reading to learn how long dextromethorphan stays in your system.

How Long Does It Take For DXM to Kick in?

Robotripping, dexing, and skittling are some of the many names for using DXM to experience a range of psychological and physical side effects. Given that dextromethorphan is legal and readily available for most people to purchase, this is a serious concern. Robotripping usually involves purposely overdosing or taking higher doses of DXM than recommended. Plus, many DXM products contain additional ingredients that can make higher doses even more harmful.

Depending on the dose taken, dextromethorphan effects may vary in intensity. Usually, dextromethorphan side effects occur in stages, often referred to as plateaus. The plateaus and DXM effects are as follows:

1st Plateau

100 to 200 milligrams (mg) of dextromethorphan can produce similar side effects to ecstasy (molly or MDMA). These side effects include hallucinations, enhanced sensory perception, enhanced sense of well-being, increased sociability, emotional warmth, and a willingness to discuss emotionally heavy memories.

2nd Plateau

The second stage of DXM effects occurs when someone takes 200 to 400 mg of dextromethorphan. This stage feels similar to alcohol intoxication, and side effects can include sedation, drowsiness, impaired judgment, decreased balance, and inhibited motor movement. Euphoria and hallucinations can also occur at this dose.

3rd Plateau

Once a person takes 400 to 600 mg of DXM, they may experience side effects similar to those of ketamine. These side effects include strong dissociation, intense hallucinations, and loss of motor coordination.

4th Plateau

At the fourth plateau of dextromethorphan effects, which refers to taking anywhere from 500 to 1,500 mg of DXM, the effects are similar to taking a hallucinogen like PCP (Angel Dust). These side effects can last for up to two weeks after the person’s last dose. Taking this much DXM can produce a trance-like state and out-of-body feeling. Delirium as well as hallucinations are also common in this plateau and can lead to aggressive or violent behavior.

In addition to these plateaus, DXM side effects include:

  • Increased body temperature
  • Hot flashes
  • Sweating
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Slurred speech
  • Lethargy
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Slowed breathing
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Rash and itching
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Involuntary eye movements
  • Seizures

The effects of DXM take 30 to 60 minutes to kick in after the last dose and reach their peak after around 2 to 4 hours. How long DXM lasts in your system and the duration of its side effects also depend on the dose, other ingredients the medication may contain, your percentage of body fat, and more. DXM is addictive, and you should never take a higher dose or dose more frequently than recommended. Those who are addicted to DXM may turn to other drugs to seek a more intense high. If you or a loved one is battling addiction, the inpatient drug treatment offered at several of our drug rehabilitation centers can help.

How Long Does DXM Stay in Your System?

How long does dextromethorphan stay in your system? A DXM trip duration and how long it takes to leave a person’s system depends on a few factors. For instance, the higher the dose, the longer the body will take to metabolize the drug. Additionally, the time it takes for any drug to leave your system heavily depends on its half-life, which is how long it takes for half of it to metabolize. The dextromethorphan half-life is about 3 to 4 hours, meaning that dextromethorphan can stay in your system for about 6 to 8 hours. Below is a list of DXM half-life according to drug tests:

  • Urine: DXM can be detected in urine for up to 2 days after the last use, but standardized drug tests may detect it as PCP (Angel Dust).
  • Blood: DXM can be detected in blood anywhere from 3 to 24 hours after the last use.
  • Saliva: Saliva drug tests don’t usually look for DXM because it’s a common OTC medication, making the detection window for DXM in saliva small.
  • Hair: DXM can be detected in hair for up to 90 days after the person’s last dose.

The maximum recommended daily dose of DXM is 120 mg. Anything above that can result in adverse psychological and physical reactions. It typically takes 1,500 mg of DXM to overdose, so be cautious whenever taking this drug. Robotripping or DXM abuse increases the likelihood of overdose. The purpose of this behavior is to take enough of the drug to experience hallucinations or a high, which can be dangerous.

Whether prescription or OTC, always be cautious about how you take your medications. Taking a prescription drug without a prescription or taking more than the recommended dose of an OTC drug both qualify as drug abuse. If you’re battling addiction, get help today. Call Banyan Treatment Centers now at 888-280-4763 to learn more about the drug addiction treatment we offer.

Related Readings:

  • Signs of Drug Overdose and What to Do if the Situation Occurs
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa is the National Director of Digital Marketing and is responsible for a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. All articles have been written by Alyssa and medically reviewed by our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Darrin Mangiacarne.