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When taken as directed, cough and cold medications are generally safe.  However, sometimes people (primarily teens and young adults) abuse cough and cold medicines.

Cough suppressants that are found in many cough and cold medications are sometimes abused. Dextromethorphan, also called “Dex,” is a common agent used by high school students.

Slang words associated with these products include:

  • Skittles
  • Triple C’s
  • Robotrips

Antihistamines, which are also often found in cold medications, may also be taken in excess either accidentally or intentionally.  These products may be used because they are easy to get, and inexpensive, and some adults may not be aware that they can be abused.

When cough and cold medications are taken in larger doses, serious symptoms may occur.

Symptoms may include:

  • rapid heartbeat
  • high or low blood pressure
  • drowsiness
  • confusion
  • hallucinations
  • seizures

Call NC Poison Control at 1-800-222-1222 or chat from this site for more information.

Last Updated on 12/20/2023