Recreational Benzedrex use can lead to abuse and even addiction.
Benzedrex as a Drug of Abuse
When Benzedrex was released at least 60 years ago, it was a new way to help patients get relief when they were congested.
Cheap and available without having to visit a doctor, it was a modern way to solve a common health inconvenience. For the first time, people would find relief for their stuffy nose using a small inhaler-like device. But its main active ingredient was amphetamine.
According to Poison Control, scientists created propylhexedrine as a substitute because they realized people were becoming addicted to Benzedrex, resulting in documented fatalities.
However, propylhexedrine turned out to be chemically similar to amphetamine. It was considered safer, but this did not guarantee that people would not misuse Benzedrex.
Today, Benzedrex is one of the several over-the-counter medications known as a “legal high.”
In a 2017 paper published by Dovepress, scientists explained that some people misuse Benzedrex on purpose by either taking its container apart to inhale its contents in full or to inject it. The paper discusses other medications that are legally available and commonly misused.
But how do these problems start?
What is Drug Abuse?
All drugs affect the body differently, and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has researched how drug addiction works at its core. Misuse of any substance can have life-changing negative consequences for those who do not receive treatment or help.
One basic premise to understand about drug misuse is that it does not begin overnight. People use drugs for various reasons, some of which can be:
- To focus more at school or work
- To feel better about a life situation or underlying cause
- To have fun
- To fit in (more prevalent with teenagers)
- Out of curiosity
Experimenting with any substance often begins innocently, but drugs interact with parts of the brain that motivate you to make decisions and feel satisfied when you have met your goals. NIDA mentions that in the case of prescription or over-the-counter medication, misuses involves not following directions of use.
People who use Benzedrex often misuse it by ingesting all of its contents at once. This may involve taking the inhaler apart and snorting its contents or even injecting them intravenously, as stated in a 2014 study published by Open Access Emergency Medicine (Dovepress). Users have reported heightened feelings of confidence when they abuse the drug.
Health problems aside, drug addiction causes strains in your personal, professional, or school-related relationships.
Teens and Drug Addiction
A Reuters report from April 2012 showed that starting drug use as a teenager increases the risk of substance misuse that could last the rest of a teen’s life.
Poison Control also mentions that Benzedrex is easy to buy and that it is important to teach teenagers to be careful with all drugs, even those that are legal.
How Benzedrex Addiction Works
DailyMed’s 2014 fact sheet on Benzedrex includes a precaution not to use it for more than three days. Directions also say not to use it more often than every two hours.
Unfortunately, some people discover that Benzedrex delivers a temporary feeling of concentration, similar to stimulants. Poison Control reports that Benzedrex misuse is often the result of wanting to become more focused.
Dovepress says that Benzedrex is similar to amphetamine. People who use it regularly may discover a rise in their levels of dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine. These hormones cause a person to feel good, triggering changes in their reward system as the brain gets used to working along with the drug.
Dependence on Benzedrex begins after three days. Some nasal decongestants are known to cause rebound congestion, which means they cause the problem they are meant to solve.
In the case of Benzedrex, a person who wants to relieve their congestion may use it for three days. When their congestion worsens, they may not have enough information to figure out why they continue to need the medication. They keep taking it, and this begins a cycle of abuse.
Misuse may cause a person to use Benzedrex even if they are faced with the adverse impacts from it.
Dangers of Recreational Benzedrex Use
Rebound congestion means your blood vessels draw together to reduce swelling, but this is a disturbance to your body’s natural way of getting rid of mucus.
Even using Benzedrex as directed could cause problems, such as:
- Faster heart rate.
- Rise in blood pressure.
- Difficulty with urination (causing an enlarged prostate in men)
Benzedrex is not recommended for people who already have heart problems, glaucoma, or blood pressure issues. Restricting your consumption of caffeine is suggested even when using the drug correctly.
Along with the risks of misuse and long-term addiction, using Benzedrex for recreational reasons also poses other health problems.
Poison Control reports that a rise in high blood pressure after using Benzedrex can even cause injuries to the lung. In addition, Benzedrex has been linked to sudden death.
Avoiding Misuse and Other Complications
On the positive side, help is available for you or a loved if you notice Benzedrex is becoming a problem. Some simple ways to prevent misuse are:
- Talk to a doctor if you have used the drug for three days and experience no changes.
- Use it only as directed.
- Avoid Benzedrex use if you have heart or blood pressure issues.
If Benzedrex use has already become a problem, doctors can provide referrals that can assist you in safely quitting the substance.