Can you get high on promethazine?

Yes, promethazine affects the central nervous system and can get you high. But when combined with codeine, promethazine hydrochloride can lead to psychological and physical dependence. More on promethazine use and addiction characteristics here.

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Yes, promethazine can get you high.

So, if you take promethazine to get high, will you get addicted? We review the use of promethazine hydrochloride, euphoria and the risk of promethazine addiction below. As always, your questions and comments are welcomed in the comments section below.

Promethazine chemistry and use

Promethazine is an antihistamine which is used clinically for the temporary relief of coughs and upper respiratory symptoms associated with allergy or the common cold. Further, prescription-strength promethazine combined with codeine cough syrup is legitimately used to treat allergies, bronchitis, the common cold, influenza, and sinusitis. The three main characteristics of promethazine include:

1. sedative effects
2. the ability to treat allergies
3. prevention or alleviation of nausea and vomiting (antiemetic)

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Promethazine is an H1 receptor blocking agent which affects the central nervous system. In fact, drowsiness is the most prominent effect of this drug. However, most people take promethazine in combination with codeine (a prescription opioid) as a prescription strength cough syrup. And it is the combination of codeine and promethazine which most likely leads to euphoric effect.

Promethazine and euphoria

Cough syrup that combines promethazine and codeine is the main ingredient in a drink called Purple Drank. Drinking Purple Drank results in a sedative and woozy or swooning euphoria. But when you drink a combination of promethazine and codeine for effects of mild stimulation and intoxication to dissociation…the risk for developing dependence on the drug increases. Even more, Purple Drank has contributed to overdose deaths.

And although it’s rather unlikely that you can become addicted to promethazine on its own, you can get addicted to codeine. If you are taking a promethazine and codeine combination you MUST KNOW that psychological dependence, physical dependence, and tolerance are known to occur with codeine.

When do people get addicted to promethazine?

Promethazine is readily available and pretty easy to get. But promethazine hydrochloride and codeine phosphate syrup is a Schedule V Controlled Substance. This is because although it has a medical use, it can be abused. And abuse of cough syrups containing promethazine may lead to limited physical dependence or psychological dependence. So how do you know if you are addicted to cough syrups containing promethazine, or not?

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First, you have to separate the promethazine from codeine. Although promethazine is known to cause euphoria, codeine is more likely to cause it. So if you are drinking Purple Drank, know that your body and mind can start to NEED the drink instead of WANT it.

Second, there is a distinction between addiction and dependency. You can be dependent on cough syrups with codeine without being addicted to them. Addiction is generally characterized by psychological needs such as lack of control of drug use, compulsive use, continued use despite harm, and craving. But people who are physically dependent on codeine can withdraw from it and not take it again.

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And finally, if you are taking promethazine with codeine to get high, you are at risk of becoming addicted to it. Why people get addicted to drugs is different for every person. No single factor can predict whether a person will you become addicted to promethazine and codeine, or not. In fact, risk for addiction is influenced by individual biology, social environment, and age or stage of development. But in general, if you are taking something to get high, and continue to do so over time, your body and mind will start to change chemistry and make durg use the most important part of your life.

Questions about promethazine

Do you have more questions about the use or abuse of promethazine? Maybe something to share with us. We publish all relevant comments here, and answer all your questions personally. Sometimes, we’ll even write a new article just for you. Please leave your ideas below. We look forward to hearing from you.

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Reference sources: Resurgence in Abuse of ‘Purple Drank’ from the U.S. Department of Justice
FDA drug information on promethazine hydrochloride and codeine phosphate solution
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Drugs and Human Performance Fact Sheets
About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.


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  1. Because of him? If someone takes his suggestion to get high, and dies from it, its their own fault. They made that choice.

  2. I have MS which my doctor said is be the cause of my nausea (not to mention a whole slew of other symptoms.) I’ve been taking promethazine 50mg for nausea probably for 20+ years. I’m not sure if promethazine is the cause of this or not, but I’ve developed OCD and am always over reacting to little things with such intensity. I would like to know if anyone believes the promethazine is responsible?

  3. I am currently experiencing antidepressant discontinuation syndrome and was prescribed promethazine for a cough. Wondering if this will create any ill effects, as this syndrome is one of the hardest things I have ever done. I was taken off Cymbalta, cold turkey due to hyponatremia and was thrown into this syndrome. So I am skeptical about taking anything.

  4. To clarify i have a brain tumor but i still remember the first time the hospitsl give me phergan and pain med push..omg thats euphoic feelin…but i have Had no experience of euphoria with suppositories and pills. Just syrup and im and iv…can take like 5 pills of phergan along with pain meds to reach same euphoric feeling …

  5. Can we not forget that Promethazine is primarily used in psychiatric inpatient facilities for sedating patients with protracted insomnia. It will not make you “high” per se, but could induce some restlessness and akathisia as it has mild antipsychotic properties. Taken in large enough doses, it can induce a full case of akathisia which will make people extremely restless and agitated. I imagine the combination of a drug which can induce akathisia and sleepiness, combined with an opioid, would produce only sedative effects. In fact, I don’t even need to imagine, I have tried it. The euphoria that develops, develops from the feeling of being unchained from your emotions, not from a euphoric effect produced by drug specifically. .

    1. Hi Justin. The body quickly absorbs and metabolizes codeine. Usually, codeine will be detectable for 1-2 days for most standard blood or urine screens. However, codeine is detectable in hair for longer period.

  6. I have a very severe stomach issue called Gastroparesis i recently after my Endoscopy, my GP doctor said I definitely have inflammation or, chronic gastritis, and I also am aslo on Methadone. I have wicked bad nausea and pain constantly and just want relief but can afford to be anymore tired.

    Will this make me drozy or high with my daily methadone dose? I don’t want that.. I am in recovery and not looking for any type.of euphoria deliberately.

  7. Will get you high if you drink a moderate amount, Ive taken half a medicine bottle of promethazine dm no codeine and after 30 min felt something kick in. Very nice experience only not totally sure if its safe. You will feel a weird “vibration”, hard to explain but its not scary. Then the “high” kind of progresses and well with me I felt it altered consciousness, and it even got to the point where I started seeing “visuals” in my eyelids when I closed my eyes. Kind of like those music visual patterns from windows media player. Recommend trying it but would hate to put anyone in danger

  8. It’s gonna slow you down in a way that is not really euphoric. I mean, you’ll feel better than taking Benadryl, but nothing that will make you want to do it again ASAP. Besides Prometh and Codeine cough syrup for the flu, etc., promethazine is prescribed a lot when opiates/opioids, and other meds are making the patient nauseous.

  9. Addiction is relative at this time period. I believe that each individual may respond differently to each substance and even that can change according to the arrangements of the other chemicals present in the system at that time. Also consider “survival mode”; phenergan can get a person euphoric in times of dire need.

  10. My mom takes this 25 mg no codiene. She thinks its for acid reflux. She has Congestive heart failure,one kidney and copd

    Why would she be taking promethazine 25mg.
    She does have anxiety,but takes valiuum for that.
    She has no allergies or any reason to take an antihistamine
    Could you please lete know your thoughts?
    Thanks for the things I learned from this site already
    I hope to learnore

  11. Some folks will use this drug to get “high” though it is a sedative and a respiratory depressant. It is NOT a narcotic but it can certainly enhance the respiratory depression that is caused by all narcotic drugs even when used at prescribed doses. Even then be aware that often patients do not tell their doctors about other medications that they might be taking OR they add something to the mix later thinking all will be okay. Well it very well could be lethal because of respiratory suppression subsequent failure or even cardiac arrest. An example is Methadone which is a long acting narcotic used for helping opioid dependent individuals return to a normal life. Because of certain pharmacological properties when combined with benzodiazepines (especially Xanax) an individual is at risk for a potential fatal cardiac arythmia called Torsades de Pointe. Additionally respiratory depression is possible. Now say you add an over the counter cold medicine that might have some other sedating medications, potential arythmiagenic mefications, and if of course ALCOHOL which can cause both cardiac and respiratory troubles.
    Alcohol alone with the promethazine can be lethel depending on ones tolerance and the amount of each substance taken and any underlying medical conditions.
    This is serious budiness. The drug is a good one when used properly and under the direction of your health care provider. The potential got abuse of the drug and potential gatekeeper results are possible: you might stop breathing in your sleep OR you might an abnormal heart rhythm and will have a heart attack or stroke and die. If you take this medication willy billy with other drugs and/or alcohol you are gambling with your life.

  12. I’m sorry but I took codeine as a kid codeine ain’t shit and I don’t understand the hype about it in rap songs or whatever they must have low ass tolerance codeine is weak to me they also gave it to my daughter that’s eleven years old all I know is if your trying to get high you better have a shit load of it thank you good night

  13. I am prescribed promethaxine for nausea and I’m on 39 milligrams of methadone maintenance, which means I have to take methadone daily, from being addicted to opiates. The methadone does not get me high. Idk if anyone out there knows about methadone maintenance. I’ve been taking methadone daily for 5 years and I’m coming off of it, tapering, and the promethazine does not get me high, and I’m also on valium 5mg twice daily. My point is that everyone’s chemical make up is different. Everyday your body changes so maybe one day the promethazine will get me high. I know if you take a couple more promethazine at once it gets you a buzz. When I did that, I took 3 25mg, I was in a trance and everything was in slow motion and I would tell somebody something and totally would not remember!! I was scared to death!! I thought I was gonna drop dead!!! I will NEVER do that again. But taking one pill three times a day if needed just gets rid of nausea. I know this post is long, and I hope maybe the info will help someone.

  14. Yeah, great idea to suggest mixing promethazine with methadone and benzos. Lets potentiate two respiratory depressors together. Hopefully someone with an undiagnosed respiratory disorder doesn’t try that and die because of you.
    Just cause you haven’t had problems doesn’t mean you should recommend doing stupid.things to people.

  15. If you take methadone and take the promethazine it will get you high.the promethazine intensifies the methadone wich is an opiate.add a benzo like xanax or klonopin and its a party:-)

  16. Will Promethazine by itself, without codine get you high? Like if you were to just eat as few, or snort some? What would be the side affects?

  17. 1.Promethazine will NOT get you high. Ever. It will cause mild sedation, but will not cause euphoria. It is only codeine that will cause euphoria. This article is very misleading. False information is what contributes to the dangers of drug use.
    2.Promethazine+Codeine does not cause stimulation or dissasociation. It is a depressant, not a stimulant. It is not a dissasociative and has no qualities of a dissasociative.
    3. The section on addiction is misleading as well.
    You were comparing what is called psychological addiction(and you called it dependency) to physical addiction(which you simply called addiction).
    They are both addictions, they are both dependencies. You can be dependent without being addicted, but if you are addicted, you are dependent.
    4. And no, government sites are not a good source. They are often very biased. Instead, your sources should be from medical and scientific journals, where you get 100% unbiased facts.

  18. I take 25mg tablet of promethazine for nausea and I was wondering if it is addictive?? Or can it cause stomach problems with continued use??

  19. Hi Dre. From our research, it looks like most people get high from the combined effect of promethazine and codeine, not from premethazine alone. Does this help?

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