What happens to your body when you misuse cough or cold medicines?

Short-Term Effects

DXM misuse can cause:

  • loss of coordination
  • numbness
  • feeling sick to the stomach
  • increased blood pressure
  • faster heart beat
  • vision changes
  • slurred speech
  • feeling very excited
  • in rare instances when DXM is taken with decongestants, lack of oxygen to the brain, creating lasting brain damage

Promethazine-codeine cough syrup misuse can cause:

  • slowed heart rate
  • slowed breathing (high doses can lead to overdose and death)

Cough and cold medicines are even more dangerous when taken with alcohol or other drugs.

Long-term effects of cough and cold medicines are not known.