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Clin Rev Allergy Immunol. 2014 Feb;46(1):3-18. doi: 10.1007/s12016-013-8370-2.

Alternative drugs of abuse.

Author information

1
Department of Emergency Medicine, University of California, Davis Medical Center, PSSB 2100 4150 V Street, Suite 2100, Sacramento, CA, 95817, USA, mark.sutter@ucdmc.ucdavis.edu.

Abstract

The incidence of drug abuse with alternative agents is increasing. The term "alternative drugs of abuse" is a catch-all term for abused chemicals that do not fit into one of the classic categories of drugs of abuse. The most common age group abusing these agents range from 17 to 25 years old and are often associated with group settings. Due to their diverse pharmacological nature, legislative efforts to classify these chemicals as a schedule I drug have lagged behind the development of new alternative agents. The potential reason for abuse of these agents is their hallucinogenic, dissociative, stimulant, anti-muscarinic, or sedative properties. Some of these drugs are easily obtainable such as Datura stramonium (Jimson Weed) or Lophophora williamsii (Peyote) because they are natural plants indigenous to certain regions. The diverse pharmacology and clinical effects of these agents are so broad that they do not produce a universal constellation of signs and symptoms. Detailed physical exams are essential for identifying clues leading one to suspect an alternative drug of abuse. Testing for the presence of these agents is often limited, and even when available, the results do not return in a timely fashion. Intoxications from these agents pose unique challenges for health care providers. Physician knowledge of the physiological effects of these alternative agents and the local patterns of drug of abuse are important for the accurate diagnosis and optimal care of poisoned patients. This review summarizes the current knowledge of alternative drugs of abuse and highlights their clinical presentations.

PMID:
23636733
DOI:
10.1007/s12016-013-8370-2
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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