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For further information, see CMDT Part 38-35: Gamma-Hydroxybutyrate (GHB) Overdose

Key Features

  • A popular recreational drug; can be used to facilitate sexual assault ("date rape" drug)

  • Consumed as a liquid

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

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

  • Occasionally GHB is used in the 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


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


  • Monitor the airway; assist breathing if needed

  • There is no specific treatment

  • GHB withdrawal syndrome may require very large doses of benzodiazepines

  • Baclofen has also been used

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