Gamma hydroxybutyrate (GHB or "G") is taken by mouth, usually in liquid form. It is similar to ketamine Ketamine and Phencyclidine (PCP) Ketamine and phencyclidine are chemically similar drugs used for anesthesia but are sometimes used recreationally. Ketamine is available in powder and liquid form. The powder can be snorted... read more or alcohol Alcohol Alcohol (ethanol) is a depressant. Consuming large amounts rapidly or regularly can cause health problems, including organ damage, coma, and death. Genetics and personal characteristics may... read more in its effects.
(See also Drug Use and Abuse Overview of Substance-Related Disorders Drugs are an integral part of everyday life for many people, whether the drugs are used for legitimate medical purposes or recreationally (see table Drugs with Medical and Recreational Uses)... read more .)
GHB produces feelings of relaxation and tranquility. It may also cause fatigue and feelings of being uninhibited.
At higher doses, GHB may cause
Loss of coordination
At high doses, GHB can also slow breathing and cause seizures and coma, sometimes leading to death. Combining GHB and any other sedatives, especially alcohol, is extremely dangerous. Most deaths have occurred when GHB was taken with alcohol.
Withdrawal symptoms occur if GHB is not taken for several days after previous frequent use. Withdrawal can be life threatening.
A doctor's evaluation
Diagnosis is based on symptoms in people known to have used GHB. No readily available tests can confirm the use of GHB.
Treatment for symptoms
Treatment complications from GHB use is directed at symptoms. A ventilator Mechanical Ventilation Mechanical ventilation is use of a machine to aid the movement of air into and out of the lungs. Some people with respiratory failure need a mechanical ventilator (a machine that helps air get... read more may be needed if breathing is affected. Most people recover rapidly.