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