Sale of OTC Dextromethorphan Restricted to Adults in Florida

MAY 09, 2016
Florida recently passed a law that restricts the sale of OTC dextromethorphan-containing cough and cold products to adults.
This law becomes effective January 1, 2017, and will prohibit those younger than 18 years from purchasing these OTC products.1  Proof of age will be required if the purchaser is presumed to be younger than 25 years.

Dextromethorphan is present in more than 100 cough and cold products. It has been primarily abused by teenagers,2 and side effects of dextromethorphan abuse include nausea, vomiting, confusion, dizziness, blurred vision, and slurred speech.

Florida is now the 10th state to prohibit the sale of OTC dextromethorphan to minors. Other states with restrictions include California, New York, Arizona, Louisiana, Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Washington, and New Jersey.2

Pharmacists can play an important role in educating patients about the dangers of abusing cough and cold medications. Parents should keep these products in a locked area hidden away from children.

  1. National Association of Boards of Pharmacy. Florida law restricts sale of dextromethorphan to adults. Published April 13, 2016. Accessed April 21, 2016.
  2. Consumer Healthcare Products Association. Dextromethorphan: preventing teen cough medicine abuse. Accessed April 21, 2016.

Jennifer Gershman, PharmD, CPh
Jennifer Gershman, PharmD, CPh
Jennifer Gershman, PharmD, CPh, received her PharmD degree from Nova Southeastern University (NSU) College of Pharmacy in 2006 and completed a 2-year drug information residency. She served as a pharmacy professor at NSU’s College of Pharmacy for 6 years, managed the drug information center, and conducted medication therapy management reviews. Dr. Gershman has published research on prescription drug abuse, regulatory issues, and drug information in various scholarly journals. Additionally, she received the Sheriff’s Special Recognition Award for her collaboration with the Broward, Florida Sheriff’s Office to prevent prescription drug abuse through a drug disposal program. She has also presented at pharmacist and physician continuing education programs on topics that include medication errors, prescription drug abuse, and legal and regulatory issues. Dr. Gershman can be followed on Twitter @jgershman2