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Backberg M.,Swedish Poisons Information Center | Beck O.,Karolinska Institutet | Beck O.,University of Stockholm | Jonsson K.-H.,Medical Products Agency | And 2 more authors.
Clinical Toxicology | Year: 2015

Background. The supply of unregulated "new psychoactive substances" (NPS) has shown a steady increase over the past six years. This report from the Swedish STRIDA project describes analytically confirmed non-fatal intoxications involving butyrfentanyl (butyrylfentanyl) or 4-fluorobutyrfentanyl (para-fluorobutyrfentanyl), two fentanyl analogues recently introduced as NPS opioids. Study design. Observational case series of consecutive patients with suspected acute NPS exposure and requiring hospital care from all over Sweden. Patients and methods. From May 2014 to January 2015, blood and urine samples were obtained from four intoxication cases involving butyrfentanyl and one case involving 4-fluorobutyrfentanyl (men, 19-30 years) presenting in emergency departments (ED) or intensive care units (ICU). Laboratory analysis of serum and/or urine samples was performed by multi-component liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry methods. Data on clinical features were collected during consultations with the Poisons Information Centre and retrieved from medical records. Case details. Of the five patients, two were discharged home from the ED and three were admitted to the ICU, of whom two required intubation and mechanical ventilation. Clinical features included typical opioid symptoms such as unconsciousness, respiratory depression, and apnea. In one case, naloxone successfully countered the effects. All patients were discharged the same or the following day. Butyrfentanyl was detected in two serum (0.6 and 0.9 ng/mL) and three urine (2.0-65.6 ng/mL) samples from three of four cases; three cases also contained fentanyl. In the 4-fluorobutyrfentanyl case, the substance was detected in serum (∼15 ng/mL) and urine (∼10 ng/mL). In four cases, other NPS and/or classical drugs were also detected. Analysis of two "butyrfentanyl" NPS products (nasal spray and powder) brought to hospital by patients showed that the 10-fold more potent fentanyl was the main active ingredient (∼7.5-10-fold higher amount) in both. Conclusion. Typical and potentially life-threatening opioid toxicity was seen in acute intoxications involving butyrfentanyl, 4F-butyrfentanyl, and fentanyl. The incorrect labelling of butyrfentanyl NPS products which instead mainly contained fentanyl is alarming, given the narrow range between a safe and a lethal dose for opioids. © 2015 Informa Healthcare USA, Inc. Source


Helander A.,Karolinska Institutet | Helander A.,University of Stockholm | Beck O.,Karolinska Institutet | Beck O.,University of Stockholm | Backberg M.,Swedish Poisons Information Center
Clinical Toxicology | Year: 2015

Background. Diphenidine (1-(1,2-diphenylethyl)piperidine) and its 2-methoxylated derivative methoxphenidine (MXP, 2-MeO-diphenidine) are substances with dissociative effects that were recently introduced for "recreational" purpose through the online-based sale of new psychoactive substances (NPS). A number of analytically confirmed non-fatal intoxications associated with diphenidine or MXP have occurred in Sweden and were included in the STRIDA project. Study design. Observational case series of consecutive patients with admitted or suspected intake of NPS and requiring intensive treatment in an emergency room and hospitalization in Sweden. Patients and methods. Blood and urine samples were collected from intoxicated patients presenting at emergency departments all over the country. NPS analysis was performed by multi-component liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry methods. Data on clinical features were collected during telephone consultations with the Poisons Information Centre and retrieved from medical records. Information was also obtained from online drug discussion forums. Case series. Over a 12-month period from January to December 2014, 750 cases of suspected NPS intoxication originating from emergency departments were enrolled in the STRIDA project of which 14 (1.9%) tested positive for diphenidine and 3 (0.4%) tested positive for MXP. Co-exposure to several other NPS (e.g., 5-/6-(2-aminopropyl)benzofuran, 2-4-bromomethcathinone, butylone, 3,4-dichloromethylphenidate, 5-methoxy-N-isopropyltryptamine, methiopropamine, and α-pyrrolidinopentiothiophenone), also including other dissociative substances (3-/4-methoxyphencyclidine), and classical drugs of abuse (e.g., cannabis and ethanol) was documented in 87% of these cases. The 17 patients were aged 20-48 (median: 32) years, and 13 (76%) were men. They commonly presented with hypertension (76%), tachycardia (47%), anxiety (65%), and altered mental status (65%) including confusion, disorientation, dissociation, and/or hallucinations. Eight patients (47%) displayed severe intoxication (Poisoning Severity Score 3). The diphenidine- or MXP-positive patients required hospitalization for 1-3 (median: 2) days. In addition to standard supportive therapy, half of the cases were treated with benzodiazepines and/or propofol. Conclusion. The adverse effects noted in analytically confirmed cases of NPS intoxication involving diphenidine or MXP were similar to those reported for other dissociative substances such as ketamine and methoxetamine. However, the high proportion of polysubstance use might have played a role in the intoxication and clinical features in some cases. © 2015 Informa Healthcare USA, Inc. Source


Backberg M.,Swedish Poisons Information Center | Beck O.,Karolinska Institutet | Beck O.,University of Stockholm | Helander A.,Karolinska Institutet | Helander A.,University of Stockholm
Clinical Toxicology | Year: 2015

Background. 3-Methoxy-phencyclidine (3-MeO-PCP) and 4-methoxy-phencyclidine (4-MeO-PCP) are analogs of and drug substitutes for the dissociative substance PCP ("Angel dust"), a recreational drug that was most popular in the 1970s. In Sweden, use of methoxylated PCP analogs was noted starting in mid-2013, according to statistics from the Poisons Information Centre. The objective of this case series was to present clinical and bioanalytical data from analytically confirmed non-fatal intoxications associated with 3-MeO-PCP and/or 4-MeO-PCP within the STRIDA project. Study design. Observational case series of consecutive patients with self-reported or suspected exposure to new psychoactive substances (NPS) and who require hospital care. Patients and methods. Blood and urine samples were collected from intoxicated patients presenting at emergency departments (ED) or intensive care units (ICU) all over Sweden. NPS analysis was performed by multicomponent liquid chromatographic-tandem mass spectrometric (LC-MS/MS) and LC-high-resolution MS (LC-HRMS) methods. Data on clinical features were collected during Poisons Information Centre consultations and retrieved from medical records. Results. The Poisons Information Centre registered its first call related to methoxylated PCP analogs in July 2013, while analytically confirmed cases first appeared in October 2013. From July 2013 to March 2015, 1243 cases of suspected NPS intoxication originating from ED or ICU were enrolled in the STRIDA project. During the 21-month period, 56 (4.5%) patients tested positive for 3-MeO-PCP and 11 (0.9%) for 4-MeO-PCP; 8 of these cases involved both substances. The 59 patients were aged 14-55 (median: 26) years and 51 (86%) were men. Co-exposure to other NPSs and/or classical drugs of abuse was common with only 7 cases (12%) indicated to be 3-MeO-PCP single-substance intoxications; prominent clinical signs seen in the latter cases were hypertension (systolic blood pressure ≥ 140 mmHg; 7 cases), tachycardia (≥ 100/min; 5 cases), and altered mental status (4 cases) including confusion, disorientation, dissociation, and/or hallucinations. Mixed-drug users displayed not only the same clinical features, but also more sympathomimetic effects including agitation (38%) and dilated pupils (33%). Patients testing positive for 3-/4-MeO-PCP were typically under medical care for 1-2 days (85%), and 37% of all cases were graded as severe intoxications (Poisoning Severity Score 3). Besides standard supportive therapy, 49% of the patients were treated with benzodiazepines and/or propofol. Conclusion. Laboratory analysis constitutes an important basis for the assessment of NPS hazard and availability. The adverse effects noted in cases of acute intoxications involving 3- and/or 4-MeO-PCP resembled those of other dissociatives such as PCP, ketamine, and methoxetamine. However, similar to intoxications involving other NPS, poly-substance use was found to be common. © 2015 Informa Healthcare USA, Inc. Source


Beck O.,Karolinska Institutet | Carlsson S.,Dependence Clinic Vastmanland | Tusic M.,Swedish Poisons Information Center | Olsson R.,Dependence Clinic Vastmanland | And 2 more authors.
Scandinavian Journal of Clinical and Laboratory Investigation | Year: 2014

Aim. Products for on-site urine drug testing offer the possibility to perform screening for drugs of abuse directly at the point-of-care. This is a well-established routine in emergency and dependency clinics but further evaluation of performance is needed due to inherent limitations with the available products. Methods. Urine drug testing by an on-site product was compared with routine laboratory methods. First, on-site testing was performed at the laboratory in addition to the routine method. Second, the on-site testing was performed at a dependency clinic and urine samples were subsequently sent to the laboratory for additional analytical investigation. Results. The on-site testing products did not perform with assigned cut-off levels. The subjective reading between the presence of a spot (i.e. negative test result) being present or no spot (positive result) was difficult in 3.2% of the cases, and occurred for all parameters. The tests performed more accurately in drug negative samples (specificity 96%) but less accurately for detecting positives (sensitivity 79%). Of all incorrect results by the on-site test the proportion of false negatives was 42%. The overall agreement between on-site and laboratory testing was 95% in the laboratory study and 98% in the clinical study. Conclusion. Although a high degree of agreement was observed between on-site and routine laboratory urine drug testing, the performance of on-site testing was not acceptable due to significant number of false negative results. The limited sensitivity of on-site testing compared to laboratory testing reduces the applicability of these tests. © 2014 Informa Healthcare. Source


Helander A.,Karolinska Institutet | Helander A.,University of Stockholm | Backberg M.,Swedish Poisons Information Center | Beck O.,Karolinska Institutet | Beck O.,University of Stockholm
Clinical Toxicology | Year: 2014

Background. MT-45 (1-cyclohexyl-4-(1,2-diphenylethyl)piperazine) is an opioid analgesic drug candidate developed in the 1970s that has recently been introduced as a new psychoactive substance (NPS) on the "recreational" drug market. We describe a case series of non-fatal intoxications associated with MT-45 within the Swedish STRIDA project. Study design. Observational case series of consecutive patients with admitted or suspected intake of NPS presenting to hospitals in Sweden from November 2013 to February 2014. Patients and methods. Blood and urine samples were collected from intoxicated patients presenting to emergency departments and intensive care units over the country. NPS analysis was performed by an LC-MS/MS multi-component method. Clinical data were collected when caregivers consulted the Poisons Information Centre and also retrieved from medical records. Case series. Among nine intoxications where MT-45 was detected in the biological samples, four cases were indicated to only involve MT-45, while one or several psychoactive substances were found along with MT-45 in the others. All patients were men aged 17-32 years and they commonly presented with opioid-like adverse symptoms, such as unconsciousness and respiratory depression. Naloxone appeared to have utility in the treatment of MT-45 intoxication in several cases. Three patients complained of bilateral hearing loss that in one case persisted after two weeks. Conclusion. MT-45 should be added to the growing list of harmful NPS causing life-threatening poisonings, and rapid actions taken to make it a controlled substance. © 2014 Informa Healthcare USA, Inc. Source

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