DXM is being investigated as a treatment for various diseases due mostly to
its NMDA antagonist effects. The most promising results have been in
treating shingles, a disease which primarily affects the elderly wherein a
dormant viral infection flares up and attacks peripheral nerves. DXM can
block the (often excruciating) pain from this flareup, and may prevent
peripheral nerve damage (370). It may also be effective at treating herpes
pain (368).

Some chronic neurodegenerative diseases may be treatable with DXM. Notable
among these include ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) (168), although more recent
research seems to show that DXM may not be a useful treatment for ALS
(363). Even “Mad Cow” disease (and other prion diseases) may respond to
treatment with DXM (362).

DXM has also been used to treat mental retardation (35), and Parkinson’s
disease (36). DXM may even have be useful in treating lung and other
cancers (38) and preventing tissue rejection in transplants (263) due to
the (poorly understood) effects of sigma ligands on tumor cells and the
immune system (see Section 10.2).

Some papers have suggested that dissociatives have antidepressant effects
(208,212,223,245,250), while others dispute this (225,229). Finally, the
dissociative qualities of DXM may be of use; ketamine has been used to calm
children in order to perform genital exam in cases of suspected sexual
abuse (184-186).

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