Merck Manual

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Gamma Hydroxybutyrate

(GHB; "G")

By

Gerald F. O’Malley

, DO, Grand Strand Regional Medical Center;


Rika O’Malley

, MD, Grand Strand Medical Center

Full review/revision Dec 2022
VIEW PROFESSIONAL VERSION

Symptoms of GHB Use

GHB produces feelings of relaxation and tranquility. It may also cause fatigue and feelings of being uninhibited.

At higher doses, GHB may cause

  • Dizziness

  • Loss of coordination

  • Nausea

  • Vomiting

Withdrawal symptoms occur if GHB is not taken for several days after previous frequent use. Withdrawal symptoms are similar to those of alcohol withdrawal Withdrawal symptoms Alcohol (ethanol) is a depressant (it slows down brain and nervous system functioning). Consuming large amounts rapidly or regularly can cause health problems, including organ damage, coma,... read more (including tremor, headache, sweating, nausea, and seizures) and can be life threatening.

Diagnosis of GHB Use

  • 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 of GHB Use

  • Observation and monitoring until the person is sober

  • Sometimes assistance with breathing

More Information

The following English-language resources may be useful. Please note that THE MANUAL is not responsible for the content of these resources.

  • National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA): GHB-specific information from the federal agency that supports scientific research into drug use and its consequences and supplies information about commonly used drugs, research priorities and progress, clinical resources, and grant and funding opportunities.

  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): US Department of Health agency that leads public health efforts to improve behavioral health and provides resources, including treatment locators, toll-free helplines, practitioner training tools, statistics, and publications on a variety of substance-related topics.

NOTE: This is the Consumer Version. DOCTORS: VIEW PROFESSIONAL VERSION
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