Club drugs: MDMA, gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB), Rohypnol, and ketamine
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Am Fam Physician. 2004 Jun 1;69(11):2619-26.
Club drugs: MDMA, gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB), Rohypnol, and ketamine.
- 1Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, University of Utah Health Sciences Center, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA. email@example.com
Club drugs are substances commonly used at nightclubs, music festivals, raves, and dance parties to enhance social intimacy and sensory stimulation. The most widely used club drugs are:
- 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), also known as ecstasy;
- gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB);
- flunitrazepam (Rohypnol); and
- ketamine (Ketalar).
These drugs are popular because of their low cost and convenient distribution as small pills, powders, or liquids.
Club drugs usually are taken orally and may be taken in combination with each other, with alcohol, or with other drugs.
Club drugs often are adulterated or misrepresented.
Any club drug overdose should therefore be suspected as polydrug use with the actual substance and dose unknown. Persons who have adverse reactions to these club drugs are likely to consult a family physician. Toxicologic screening generally is not available for club drugs. The primary management is supportive care, with symptomatic control of excess central nervous system stimulation or depression.
There are no specific antidotes except for flunitrazepam, a benzodiazepine that responds to flumazenil. Special care must be taken for immediate control of hyperthermia, hypertension, rhabdomyolysis, and serotonin syndrome.
Severe drug reactions can occur even with a small dose and may require critical care. Club drug over-dose usually resolves with full recovery within seven hours. Education of the patient and family is essential.
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