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Rohan* talks about getting addicted to OTC drugs and how he got out of the maze.  What are OTC drugs?
An anti-cholinergic is a substance that blocks the neurotransmitter acetylcholine (ACH) in your nervous system and brain. Anti-cholinergic drugs are sold both over the counter and by prescription, and represent an ongoing risk to you for two main reasons: First, many compounds with anti-cholinergic effects do not list this fact on their label, leading you and your doctor to mistakenly assume that many common OTC and prescription medicines represent no risk to ACH production or transmission. Secondly, you may be combining several of these drugs without knowing that their effects are synergistic and cumulative. In other words, one dose of an over the counter cold medicine combined with two prescription drugs that all have anti-cholinergic effects will put a TRIPLE strain on your acetylcholine receptors in your neurons. Acetylcholine (ACH) is an ester of acetic acid and choline, which is responsible for many important communications inside your body at a cellular level. ACH also has been implicated in allowing your brain to achieve REM sleep, as well as playing a vital role in the functioning of neurons throughout your brain and nervous system. In short, when your production of acetylcholine is impaired or blocked, or when your neurons have difficulty receiving this vital neurotransmitter, cognitive, muscle and other nervous system functions can begin to suffer. ACH is a complicated neurotransmitter because it has the ability to both slow the heart rate, while at other times it is able to increase and stimulate muscle response -- as in the case of sexual arousal.
As is typical for the inner workings of your body, the balance of this neurotransmitter is maintained by delicate feedback loops taking place automatically and outside of the control of your conscious mind.
Sexual arousal occurs not just in the genitals, but in your whole body and especially in your brain.
One way to safely and effectively enhance ACH levels in the body is to take supplements of choline (1000 to 3000 mg) and vitamin B5 (500 to 1500 mg) so that your body produces more ACH. Vitamin B5, also known as pantothenic acid, actually seems to enhance your muscle endurance by two routes. Besides enhancing your body’s natural ability to produce ACH, you will also want to avoid anti-cholinergic compounds that limit or inhibit your body’s ability to process the ACH that your muscles and brain use to communicate at a cellular level.
Again, for an extensive list of OTC medicines and prescription drugs that have anti-cholinergic effects, please see Dr. Your medicine cabinet can be your teenager’s treasure-trove for either making money from their friends or for their new way of “getting their kicks” (getting high).  Just because a lot of your medicine cabinet drugs are obtained Over the Counter (OTC) doesn’t mean they are safe.
We feel that if parents or adults who supervise teens and children in their homes understood what the side effects of these OTC drugs are, would take better care to keep them out of the hands of youths. Dextromethorphan: This is the active ingredient in more than 100 OTC cough and cold medicines such as Robitussin and NyQuil. Pain relievers: Adults and teens have taken pain relievers like acetaminophen and ibuprofen in doses higher then recommended because they want the medicine to work faster. Caffeine medicines and energy drinks: OTC caffeine pills like NoDoz or energy drinks like “5 Hour Energy,” or pain relievers with caffeine have all been abused for the buzz or “jolt of energy” they seem to impart. Laxatives and herbal diuretics: Like diet pills, some teens and young adults also abuse OTC laxatives and herbal diuretics (water pills), including uva-ursa, golden seal, dandelion root, rose hips, and others, to lose weight. Motion sickness pills: Motion sickness pills that contain dimenhydrinate (Dramamine) or diphenhydramine (Benadryl) taken in large doses can cause one to feel high and have hallucinations similar to street drugs.
Sexual performance medicines: OTC sexual performance medicines, often purchased via the Internet, are sometimes abused by teens and adults who are drinking to counteract the negative effects of alcohol on sexual performance. Herbal ecstasy: This is a combination of inexpensive herbs that are legally sold in pill form and swallowed, snorted, or smoked to produce euphoria, increased awareness, and enhanced sexual sensations. Other herbals: Other herbal products are increasingly being abused for their stimulant, hallucinogenic, and euphoric effects. It used to be that parents feared their teenagers were experimenting with the marijuana or cocaine. One of the most popular choices among teens is medication containing an ingredient called Dextromethorphan (DXM), which is found in more than 140 OTC cough and cold medications. Please contact us - we look forward to discussing your particular benefits and assisting you or your loved one in accessing treatment services.
Bradford Health Services is an NBCC-Approved Continuing Education Provider (ACEP) and may offer NBCC approved clock hours for events that meet NBCC requirements. As the name suggests, over-the-counter (OTC) drugs are those that can be bought without a prescription. The only official anti-cholinergic drugs are mostly used for relieving intestinal cramps or bladder irritability, but there are 17 additional types of drugs that may also have anti-cholinergic effects. The effects of these drugs are short-term, and your body quickly reverts back to receiving acetylcholine once the effects of the drugs wear off. Leo Galland discusses in his Huffington Post article, longer-term use of these compounds can damage your body’s sensitive neuron receptors, where the ACH is processed by your body, leading to mild cognitive impairment (MCI), memory loss and perhaps may even cause or exacerbate already existing degenerative brain diseases like Alzheimer’s disease.
Mainly, it helps your heart and all your body’s muscles to function optimally by keeping them open to the stimulation they need to expand and contract.


And long-term use of anti-cholinergic drugs have now been linked to having an impact on the optimal functioning of your body’s cellular receptors of this vital neurotransmitter, especially in your brain. These internal cellular mechanisms, it should go without saying, often work best when they are not impaired by synthetic chemicals you put into your body to try to control or weaken them. If you are a man then it actually begins when your brain sends impulses down your spinal cord and to the nerves in your penis. In the next few weeks we will be releasing Krill IQ which not only has krill but phosphatidly choline and phosphatidyl serine; another important brain nutrient. The first is by increasing ACH and the second is its role in the energy producing Krebs cycle. These OTC drugs are safe when “taken as prescribed” or “taken as instructed by your doctor”.  Dosages of OTC drugs can be safe for an adult but lethal to a teenager.
One teen in every ten has reported abuse of cough medicine to get high.  Large doses can cause euphoria, distortions of color and sound, and “out of body” hallucinations that last up to 6 hours. Large doses of caffeine can cause serious dehydration, gastric reflux, panic attacks, and heart irregularities that have occasionally been linked to accidental deaths, particularly in those with an underlying heart condition. Laxatives and herbal diuretics can cause serious dehydration and life-threatening loss of important minerals and salts that regulate the amount of water in the body, acidity of the blood, and muscle function. The dose needed to cause these symptoms varies widely according to body weight and tolerance. These medicines can cause heart problems, especially when combined with alcohol or when taken in large doses.
Its similarity to amphetamines has made it sought out to make the illegal drug methamphetamine.  People have taken pseudoephedrine to lose weight, and athletes have misused the medicine to increase their state of awareness and to get them “pumped up” before a competition. Marketed as a “natural” high, the main ingredient is ma huang (ephedra), an herb banned in the US but only in dietary supplements. Besides being legal, another draw is that many herbals are not detected during routine urine drug screens. There are more and more study should be done on what is in your medicine cabinet to ensure they are safe. I have found that it was both interesting as well as scary to learn how many risks can come along with taking something that's initially aimed to make you feel better. They cost very little when compared to illicit street drugs, and can be bought at most stores without alarm.
As you will see, a very large number of medications have been confirmed or are highly suspected of having anti-cholinergic effects.
ACH is involved in the buildup toward orgasm and the urethral and vaginal contractions that occur during orgasm.
Individual articles are based upon the opinions of the respective author, who retains copyright as marked.
Other dangerous side effects including impaired judgment, vomiting, loss of muscle movement, seizures, blurred vision, drowsiness, shallow breathing, and a fast heart rate.
They don’t know that liver failure can happen with large doses of acetaminophen, and that stomach bleeding, kidney failure, and cardiac risks are heightened when taking large doses of ibuprofen.
Some teens and adults may take as many as 40 pills of Dramamine, for example, to experience the desired high.
Dangerous side effects include heart palpitations, irregular heartbeats, and heart attacks. The product can be purchased in gas stations, health food stores, drug stores, music stores, nightclubs, and online. One example is salvia (aka Deer Sage), which is ingested or smoked to experience a short-lived distortion of reality and profound hallucinations. If there is any question as to the safety of what’s in your medicine cabinet, then lock and key is the safest of all solutions. I usually never think twice about taking Advil, but now I will definitely use it cautiously. Aside from those effects, DXM can also cause distorted vision, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, confusion, slurred speech, loss of motor skills, hallucinations, and seizures.
Unfortunately, the ingredients in these pills can cause side effects such as high blood pressure, kidney problems, dehydration, and heart failure, especially when taken in large doses or over a long time.
Additionally, in today’s internet age, teens have easy access to information about how to take these drugs to get the best high. A high dose of OTC drugs can have effects like unusual sleep patterns, mood changes and even hallucinations; in extreme cases, an overdose can even cause death. The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. Extremely high doses of Dramamine have caused dangerous irregular heartbeats, coma, heart attacks, and death.


When combined with other drugs, such as narcotics, pseudoephedrine may trigger episodes of paranoid psychosis. It is easy to overdose on the product because the dose needed for desirable effects varies widely. Users can experience severe anxiety, loss of body control, extreme psychosis, and violent behavior.
In one study conducted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse in 2006, as many as one in every 14 high school seniors said they used cold medicine “fairly recently” to get high.
There have also been a number of teens who have died from overdosing on DXM and at least one murder linked to the drug.
Motion sickness pills, such as Dramamine, can cause hallucinations when taken in excessive amounts.
It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information from the research and experience of Dr.
Not much is known about long-term abuse, but cases of bone marrow and nerve cell damage, high blood pressure, heart damage, and permanent brain damage have been reported. Although the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has banned several of the most dangerous stimulants commonly found in OTC diet pills—phenylpropanolamine, ephedrine, and ephedra—other ingredients in these OTC products can be dangerous.
Long-term abuse can cause depression, liver and kidney damage, memory loss, eye pain, itchy skin, urine retention, and abdominal pain. The adverse effects can be severe, including muscle spasms, increased blood pressure, seizures, heart attacks, strokes, and death. They are also at risk for accidents and injuries that may result from an altered mental state. I feel that especially while in college where you are not seeing your usual doctor, prescriptions can be risky.
Sleep aids like Tylenol PM, Excedrin PM, and Sominex can disrupt regular sleep patterns when abused. To cite an example, bitter orange is a common ingredient that acts much like ephedrine in the body.
Another example is nutmeg, which is eaten as a paste to experience giddiness, euphoria, and hallucinations.
Of course all doctors know what they're doing, but seeing a doctor that does not know you or your previous health records could be similar to buying something over the counter. Many adolescents incorrectly think these drugs have less risk and fewer side effects than street drugs. It can cause nervousness and tremor, rapid and irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, stroke, heart failure, and death. Nausea and vomiting set in within an hour and hallucinations begin within 3 hours and can last for 24 hours or more. Mercola encourages you to make your own health care decisions based upon your research and in partnership with a qualified health care professional. Many other diet pill ingredients cause digestive problems, hair loss, insomnia, anxiety, irritability, extreme paranoia, blurred vision, kidney problems, and dehydration.
Effects such as blurred vision, dizziness, numbness, palpitations, low blood pressure, and rapid heartbeat may occur. Extended and excessive use causes health problems, and even fatalities, especially when mixed with alcohol.
If you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition, consult your health care professional before using products based on this content. Furthermore, even the most “natural” diet preparations can have serious side effects when misused, particularly those containing ma huang (ephedra). An earlier FDA ban on ephedra pertained only to diet pills considered dietary supplements, not herbal remedies such as teas and Chinese preparations. I didn’t know him, but when I saw him buying the same thing, I just knew we would get along. By this time, my friends were questioning what I was doing and I was in no mood to be answerable to anyone. They couldn’t figure out what was going on because I would wake up every morning and leave the house. But instead of going to college, I would land up at Akshay’s, who lived alone and had no rules to abide by.



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