[Purple drank: A dangerous cocktail]

Arch Pediatr. 2016 Nov;23(11):1165-1168. doi: 10.1016/j.arcped.2016.08.007. Epub 2016 Sep 23.
[Article in French]


"Purple drank" is a dangerous hallucinogenic cocktail commonly used by teenagers, made popular by American rappers and social networks. It combines codeine-based cough syrup, antihistamines such as promethazine, and soda. Unknown by caregivers, it may be responsible for serious neuropsychological complications. We report the effects of this new risky behavior in three patients: a 14-year-old girl and her boyfriend, both found in an initial state of drowsiness, followed by hallucinations and anticholinergic toxidrome; and another teenager whose chronic use led to addiction with increasing doses. It is important to identify signs of such intoxication and to inform patients about the risks of respiratory depression, drowsiness, and delirium linked to acute medication misuse.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Anticholinergic Syndrome / etiology
  • Antitussive Agents / adverse effects*
  • Beverages / adverse effects*
  • Codeine / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Hallucinations / chemically induced
  • Histamine Antagonists / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Opioid-Related Disorders / complications*


  • Antitussive Agents
  • Histamine Antagonists
  • Codeine