Quantification of GHB and GHB-GLUC in an 1,4-butanediol intoxication: A case report.


Gamma-hydroxybutyric acid (GHB) is an endogenous compound with known action at the neural level. Its psychoactive effects led to an illicit use context including recreational purposes, muscle building effects in bodybuilders and drug-facilitated crimes, specifically in sexual assaults. Besides the misuse of the main compound, there are precursors like Gammabutyrolactone (GBL) and 1,4-butanediol (1,4-BD), usually non controlled substances, becoming a much easier way to obtain the target-compound. The authors present the first reported intoxication case in Portugal with 1,4-Butanediol, including the quantification of GHB and GHB-GLUC in serum, by GC-MS/MS TQD. A suspicious liquid and a serum sample were sent by an hospital ER and analysed by GC-MS-single quadrupole and GC-MS/MS TQD, respectively. A methodology including protein precipitation and GC-MS/MS TQD analysis was used to detect and quantify GHB and GHB-GLUC in serum. Toxicological analysis revealed the presence of 1,4-Butanediol in the liquid and GHB [171 mg/L] and GHB-GLUC [13,7 mg/L] in serum. The victim reverted the coma with no neurological sequelae. This was the first detected case, in Portugal, with 1,4-Butanediol, suggesting that it is important to be aware that consumers have different options to obtain illicit compounds, such as GHB. On the other hand, GHB-GLUC was identified and quantified for the first time in a real case, due to intoxication. This case highlights the importance of analysing all samples for active compounds, precursors and metabolites that can lead to the main intoxication origin.


Castro AL, Dias AS, Melo P, Tarelho S, Franco JM, Teixeira HM

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