Inpatient Gamma-Hydroxybutyrate Detoxification: A Case Report Describing Day-to-day Therapeutic Management

Louis von Theobald, Morgane Rousselet, Jennyfer Cholet, Hélène Debar, David Boels, Caroline Victorri-Vigneau, Marie Grall-Bronnec
Journal of Addiction Medicine 2017, 11 (3): 231-234

BACKGROUND: Gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB) is a synthetic drug increasingly used by consumers of psychoactive substances. The sought after psychoactive effects of GHB have resulted in an increase in recreational use in Europe. GHB is considered to have a high dependence potential, and abrupt discontinuation after long-term use can result in a severe withdrawal syndrome. Despite a large number of publications related to GHB withdrawal and detoxification, to date, no evidence-based protocol or consensual international therapeutic guidelines are available (over and above the administration of benzodiazepines). We hereby present a day-to-day description of inpatient GHB detoxification management, from admission to discharge.

CASE SUMMARY: This case report pertains to a 47-year-old patient hospitalized for a severe GHB use disorder. The patient had independently made several unsuccessful attempts to stop GHB use. Following to these failures, the patient was oriented to our addiction department for inpatient detoxification. Withdrawal symptoms appeared 4 hours after the last dose of GHB, and consisted of diaphoresis, coenesthetic hallucinations, tremors, motor instability, tachycardia, and a hypertensive peak. Symptoms were successfully managed with diazepam titration and nonpharmacological treatment. The duration of hospitalization was 13 days. At discharge, detoxification was complete and the patient was engaged in relapse prevention therapy. Three months after discharge, the patient had maintained abstinence.

CONCLUSIONS: GHB withdrawal, which can be severe, is better prevented or attenuated by daily medical monitoring and adjustment of treatment dosage. Failure of outpatient detoxification should be included in the indication criteria in the guidelines for inpatient detoxification.

Full Text Links

We have located open access full text paper links.


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Related Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.


Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"

We want to hear from doctors like you!

Take a second to answer a survey question.