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Old 03-22-2012, 09:45 PM   #1
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 13
Dextromethorphan - W/D All Over Again?

Hi All!

My best friend has successfully tapered from 25 mg over the course of 8 months down to nothing, a feat we would never have been able to accomplish without the help of this forum. SHe took her last dose in September. Yay! I don't know how anyone can go through this without the full support of a loved one - it's excruciating to endure, and it broke my heart to watch her suffer through the worst bouts of w/d. We are finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, and she has had several months of feeling like herself again. Thank you to everyone for your suggestions, guidance, and support - you are a big part of her success. (: And thank you for helping me get my best friend back.

On to my question:
Quite by accident, a few months back she discovered that a Walgreens nighttime cold medicine helped her sleep through the night, something she hadn't done in years due to severe RLS, then due to paxil, then due to withdrawal.


I was so excited that she was finally getting good sleep that I didn't bother to check the ingredients in the medicine too carefully (I knew better than to assume cold medicine was safe...), and it turns out that it is a combination of acetaminophen, dextromethorphan, phenylephrine, and chlorpheniramine.

After poking around here a bit more, I discover that dextromethorphan (abbreviated DM or DXM) is actually chemically related to paxil, as it's an NSRI (nonselective serotonin reuptake inhibitor). As a side note, some of the other ingredients actually aggravate RLS, causing symtoms to worsen. Now I'm a little freaked out - my friend has been taking one capsule every night for over 2 months now - did she just unwittingly get back on the A/D wagon? The thing that spurred me to check the ingredients is the fact that she is no longer sleeping through the night with 1 capsule but also wasn't willing to up her dosage, as many of us are (and for good reason). Has her body built a tolerance to the drug? Are we going to have to go through the withdrawal hell all over again? Or are the two chemically different enough that there is no withdrawal related to DM?

I've read through the many great suggestions on this site about getting to sleep (and staying asleep), and we will continue to test these out to see which works best for her. I compiled a list of those that won't interfere with her RLS.

Thank you for your help in advance. My heart goes out to each of you fighting this battle, and my prayer for you is that you find a friend who will give you hope. And backrubs. And maybe some chocolate.

~Colleen (BestFriend)
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Old 03-23-2012, 05:05 AM   #2
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Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: new jersey
Posts: 48,894
Re: Dextromethorphan - W/D All Over Again?

Yes, Dex can be a problem and should never be taken for a long period of time.
AKA Laurie

"Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase."
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