Last Updated on October 4, 2022 by Dr. Alberto Solà

Teens and young adults who want to get a quick high may try to find it in objects that are hiding in plain sight. Common household items stored in closets or medicine cabinets can be a gateway for a cheap, quick rush: glue, spray paint, cleaning products, and whipped cream cans, to name just a few. One of the most insidious ones is a type of cold medicine that has the slang name Triple C drug.

Triple C Effects

The nickname is derived from this particular medicine’s brand name, Coricidin® HBP for cough and colds. There are several variations of this cold and flu medicine, all of which are designed for the temporary relief of symptoms such as coughing, sneezing, fever, congestion, and runny nose. Available in capsules, tablets, or liquid, Coricidin® HBP is specially formulated for people with high blood pressure. Typical nasal decongestants work by constricting blood vessels in the nose but they can have the same effect on vessels supporting the heart, which may elevate blood pressure.

Coricidin® HBP, on the other hand, does not use a decongestant. Instead, its active ingredient is dextromethorphan (also called DXM in some circles). Dextromethorphan works on the brain by suppressing the signals it sends for the cough reflex. It is meant for short-term use during a cold and flu only, and dosing instructions should be followed according to the manufacturer’s label or under a physician’s orders. Dosing is based on several factors, such as age, medical conditions, and treatment response, so it’s not a one-size-fits-all medication.

However, dextromethorphan also acts as a hallucinogen, which is why people began using these so-called Triple C pills recreationally. The small red tablets—which also have slang names such as candy, red devils, or Skittles—are often taken in high does, usually above 30 mg, in order to get a rush of intense pleasure. How long does a Triple C high last? It can be up to six hours long, if the dosage is high enough. These extremely high doses may pack a punch when it comes to getting high, but they also can pose serious risks to someone’s health.

Taking DXM under normal circumstances can increase the risk of potential side effects, and those risks are even more likely if the cold medication is being misused as a Triple C drug. Some of the potential side effects include dizziness, sleepiness, blurry vision, nausea and vomiting headaches, and disrupted sleep. There are also more serious side effects that may occur as a result of taking dextromethorphan: slurred speech, irregular or elevated heart rate, mood swings, confusion, nervousness, hallucinations, seizures, bodily shaking, and difficulty urinating. In rare cases, there can be an allergic reaction to DXM, which could trigger swelling in the face or throat, dizziness, and impaired respiratory function; these symptoms should not be ignored and require medical attention.

Triple C pills may also have a negative effect on people with certain health conditions. These include chronic coughing caused by emphysema, glaucoma, and enlarged prostate. Because the dextromethorphan can cause drowsiness, using alcohol or marijuana along with Triple C is ill advised because the combination can make you less alert. If the Triple C drug is in chewable or liquid form, it may have alcohol, sugar, or the sugar substitute aspartame; in those cases, the additives could be problematic for people with diabetes, liver disease, or phenylketonuria. There can also be interactions between DXM and other medications, such as MAO inhibitors (such as isocarboxazid, methylene blue, procarbazine, safinamide, moclobemide, and others), opioid-based pain or cold symptom relievers with codeine or hydrocodone, muscle relaxants, antihistamines, or anti-anxiety drugs such as zolpidem and alprazolam. These Triple C effects can be serious, and may need medical attention. Along with the increased risk of side effects, people who misuse dextromethorphan are putting themselves at risk for a Triple C overdose.

Triple C Overdose

Just because it comes from cold medicine doesn’t mean you can’t overdose on DXM. This drug can have a powerful reaction and an overly high dose, or taking too many doses before the medication has fully cleared your system, can expose someone to the risk of overdose.

Signs of a Triple C overdose can include sleepiness, dizziness, nausea and vomiting, rapid heart beat, slow and shallow breathing, and seizures. If medical attention isn’t sought immediately, an overdose could cause the user to fall into a coma; in serious cases, it can be fatal. Because cold medicine is readily available and fairly affordable, Triple C pills may seem like a fun and easy way to get high, especially for younger people. But the risks are too great and Triple C is much more dangerous than it may appear.

Find Treatment for Triple C Drug Abuse

If you or someone you love is in the grip of Triple C pill abuse, getting help as soon as possible is necessary for improved health and wellness. These types of drugs can pose a real threat to someone’s sobriety because they can be purchased just about anywhere, so professional help is imperative to kick the habit and get on the road to recovery.

Clear Sky Recovery is a safe and secure rehabilitation facility where our highly trained staffers are experts in detoxification with ibogaine. What is ibogaine treatment? This medically based treatment program is adapted to each client’s needs, and is administered by experienced and qualified professionals who are truly invested in giving everyone the chance for a successful fresh start. We are the world’s foremost experts in ibogaine treatment for people who are dependent on drugs, so you can rest assured you will be well taken care of during your stay here. Let us help you or your loved ones and use Clear Sky Recovery as the first step in the journey towards reclaiming a healthy life. Contact us today to learn more about our program and how we can help people hooked on Triple C pills or other drugs.