Skip to Main Content

Key Features

  • A popular drug of abuse and for sexual assault

  • Consumed as a liquid

  • Other related chemicals with similar effects include butanediol and gamma-butyrolactone (GBL)

  • A prolonged withdrawal syndrome has been described in some heavy chronic users

  • Sodium oxybate, the sodium salt of gamma hydroxybutyrate, is legitimately used in treatment of narcolepsy

Clinical Findings

  • Drowsiness

  • Lethargy

  • Coma with respiratory depression

  • Muscle twitching and seizures are sometimes observed

  • Recovery is usually rapid, with patients awakening within a few hours

Diagnosis

  • Urine gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB) analysis can be obtained from National Medical Labs and some forensic laboratories

Treatment

  • Activated charcoal if co-ingestion suspected

    • Administer 60–100 g orally or via gastric tube, mixed in aqueous slurry for recent ingestions

    • Do not use for comatose patients unless it can be given by gastric tube and the airway is first protected by a cuffed endotracheal tube

  • There is no specific treatment; most patients recover rapidly with supportive care

  • GHB withdrawal syndrome may require very large doses of benzodiazepines

  • Baclofen has also been used

Pop-up div Successfully Displayed

This div only appears when the trigger link is hovered over. Otherwise it is hidden from view.