GHB ( Gamma-Hydroxybutyric Acid )
What is GHB?
GHB ( Gamma Hydroxybutyrate acid ) C4H8O3 is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant that is commonly referred to as a “club drug” or “date rape” drug. GHB is abused by teens and young adults at bars, parties, clubs and “raves” (all night dance parties), and is often placed in alcoholic beverages.
Also, Negative effects may include:
- loss of consciousness,
- amnesia, and
- Also, coma among other side effects.
Xyrem, a brand name prescription drug was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2002. this was for the treatment of;
- a sleep disorder that causes excessive sleepiness and
- Also, recurring daytime sleep attacks.
It is the sodium salt of gamma hydroxybutyrate. Xyrem is a highly regulated drug in the U.S. More so, It is a Schedule III controlled substance, and requires patient enrollment in a restricted access program.
Methods of GHB Abuse
It may have a soapy or salty taste. Victims become incapacitated due to the sedative effects of GHB, and they are unable to resist sexual assault. Also GHB may also induce amnesia in its victim. Common user groups include high school and college students and rave party attendees who use GHB for its intoxicating effects.
The production of GHB usually involves the use of lye or drain cleaner mixed with GBL, a chemical cousin of GHB and an industrial solvent often used to strip floors.
In 1990, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an advisory declaring GHB use unsafe and illegal except under FDA-approved, physician-supervised protocols. More so, In March 2000, GHB was placed in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act.
GHB acts at two receptor sites in the brain, the GABAB and specific GHB receptors. Action at these two receptor sites leads to the CNS depressant, stimulant and psychomotor impairment effects of GHB.
However, detection of GHB in the urine may be difficult after 24 hours due to it’s short half-life.
Health Hazards Due to GHB Use
Also, immediate negative effects of GHB use may include:
- loss of consciousness
- auditory and visual hallucinations
- confusion and
- Also, clumsiness
GHB can have an addictive potential if used repeatedly. More so, Withdrawal effects may include;
- tremors, and
Withdrawal can be severe and incapacitating.
However, Combined use with alcohol, other sedatives or hypnotics and other drugs that possess CNS depressant activity may result in:
- vomiting and aspiration, and
- dangerous CNS and respiratory (breathing) depression.
High doses of GHB, even without other illicit substances or alcohol, may result in profound sedation, seizures, coma, severe respiratory depression and death. Also, emergency department episodes related to the use of club drugs usually involve the use of multiple substances, such as;
- cocaine, and
- other club drugs, such as methamphetamine, and
- also Ecstasy, or Rohypnol.
GHB Use in Pregnancy
Effects of GHB use in human pregnancy are not known. Women should not use GHB during pregnancy. Pregnant women, or those who are considering pregnancy. As well as, those who use GHB should seek the immediate health care attention.
Treatment Option for GHB Abuse
Little information is available on treatment options for persons addicted to any club drug, including GHB. Some users of GHB are not physically dependent upon it. Also, it can be treated and informed on an outpatient basis. Chronic use may result in severe withdrawal symptoms upon detoxification0. Also, close medical supervision and supportive care is required for these patients. As well as Hospitalization may range from 7 to 14 days.
Also, Baclofen has been noted in a case report as a possible treatment for GHB withdrawal.