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NBOMe hallucinogenic drug exposures reported to the Danish Poison Information Centre


Gorm Roager Madsen, Tonny Studsgaard Petersen & Kim Peder Dalhoff

Department of Clinical Pharmacology, Bispebjerg and Frederiksberg Hospital, Denmark

Dan Med J



INTRODUCTION: N-benzylmethoxy (NBOMe) is a new class of hallucinogenic designer drugs sold on cheap blotter papers. They are potent 5-hydroxytryptamine-2A-receptor agonists, and since their recent entry into the drug market there have been worldwide reports of severe intoxications and even fatalities. This study reviews suspected NBOMe drug exposures reported to the Danish Poison Information Centre (DPIC).

METHODS: Data from the DPIC database were extracted, including all enquiries with NBOMe exposures reported from 1 January 2013 to 30 June 2016. The following data were extracted: age, sex, date of exposure, risk assessment, co-exposures, geography and reported symptoms.

RESULTS: A total of 43 cases were identified: one in 2013, five in 2014, 32 in 2015 and five in the first six months of 2016. The mean patient age was 21 years (range: 15-34 years) with 32 (74%) male and 11 (26%) female patients. The patients most frequently presented with hallucinations/psychosis (n = 18), tachycardia (n = 18) and agitation (n = 15). A total of 16 patients were admitted with co-exposures to other drugs such as alcohol (n = 9), cannabis (n = 7), amphetamine (n = 5) cocaine (n = 3), benzodiazepines (n = 1) and 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (n = 1). The

cases were distributed evenly across the entire country with only ten cases having a postal address in one of the three major cities of Denmark.

CONCLUSIONS: This study has shown a steep and sudden rise in reported NBOMe exposures in Denmark within 3-4 years. Geographical data demonstrate an even distribution throughout the country. However, our results also suggest that the use has started to decline.

FUNDING: none.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: This study was approved by the Danish Data Protection Agency. (BFH-2016-070/04985).

Recent years have seen an increase in the recreational use of new designer drugs. In 2010, a new potent class of hallucinogenic drugs called N-benzylmethoxy (NBOMe) emerged on the drug market, and it is now readily available in online shops. Since 2010, several case reports worldwide have documented severe poisonings and even fatal overdoses [1-4]. A fatal overdose was reported in a Danish case report in 2015, when a young male exposed to NBOMe and amphetamine presented unconscious with generalised seizures and renal failure and died ten hours after admission despite maxi...
Bib ref: 
Dan Med J 2017;64(6):A5386


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