Swedish Poisons Information Center

Stockholm, Sweden

Swedish Poisons Information Center

Stockholm, Sweden

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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.


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.


Backberg M.,Swedish Poisons Information Center | Lindeman E.,Swedish Poisons Information Center | Beck O.,Karolinska Institutet | Beck O.,University of Stockholm | And 2 more authors.
Clinical Toxicology | Year: 2015

Background. 3-Methylmethcathinone (3-MMC) is a synthetic cathinone stimulant structurally related to the new psychoactive substance (NPS) mephedrone (4-methylmethcathinone, 4-MMC). We describe a case series of analytically confirmed intoxications involving 3-MMC presented to emergency departments in Sweden and included in the STRIDA project. Study design. Observational case series of consecutive patients with self-reported or suspected use of NPS presenting to hospitals in Sweden between August 2012 and March 2014. Methods. NPS analysis was performed by a liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (MS)/MS method that is updated with new substances as they appear. Data on clinical features were collected during Poisons Information Centre consultations and retrieved from medical records. Results. 3-MMC was detected in 50 (6.4%) of the 786 cases included in the STRIDA project during the 20-month study period, with the peak occurring in August 2013. The age range of patients testing positive for 3-MMC was 17-49 years (median 24) and 76% of them were men. The 3-MMC concentration in serum ranged between 0.002 and 1.49 μg/mL (median, 0.091) and between 0.007 and 290 μg/mL (median, 3.05) in urine. Co-exposure to other NPS and/or traditional drugs was very common, and 3-MMC mono-intoxication was found in only 4 (8%) cases. The most frequent clinical features were tachycardia (48% of cases) and agitation (42%). Other features included a reduced level of consciousness (32%), dilated pupils (24%), hallucinations (20%), diaphoresis (12%), seizures (8%), and hyperthermia (6%). Most patients (60%) needed hospital care for only 1 day but in 8% for 3 days or longer. Conclusion. The majority of patients with analytically confirmed 3-MMC exposure had sympathomimetic features similar to those associated with mephedrone intoxication. However, the high incidence of co-exposure to other drugs makes the clinical interpretation difficult. Nevertheless, 3-MMC was associated with a high admittance rate to intensive care (30%), and detected in two cases with a fatal outcome, suggesting that 3-MMC is a harmful drug. © 2014 Informa Healthcare USA, Inc.


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.


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.


Helander A.,Karolinska Institutet | Helander A.,University of Stockholm | Backberg M.,Swedish Poisons Information Center | Hulten P.,Swedish Poisons Information Center | And 3 more authors.
Forensic Science International | Year: 2014

The "STRIDA" project monitors the occurrence and trends of new psychoactive substances (NPS; "Internet drugs/designer drugs/legal highs") in Sweden, and collects information about their clinical symptoms, toxicity and associated health hazards. The initial results of the project documented a widespread use of many different NPS by mainly adolescents and young (age range 13-63 years, median 20), male (79%) adults, among cases of drug intoxications presenting at emergency departments and intensive care units across the country. The new substances were identified in samples of urine and blood by a multi-component LC-MS/MS method, and the severity of clinical symptoms were graded by the Poisoning Severity Score (PSS). Of the initial 189 samples submitted for laboratory investigation, 156 (83%) tested positive for at least one drug. Besides classical substances such as ethanol, cannabis and amphetamines, many NPS were detected comprising synthetic cannabinoid receptor agonists ("Spice"), piperazines, substituted phenethylamines, synthetic cathinones, hallucinogenic tryptamines, piperidines, opioid related substances, ketamine and related substances, and GABA analogues (in total more than 50 substances). About half of the cases were demonstrated to be multiple drug intoxications, sometimes making it hard to associate the clinical presentations with one specific substance. In conclusion, the STRIDA project has documented use of a broad variety of NPS among mainly young people all over Sweden. © 2014 Elsevier Ireland Ltd.


Helander A.,Karolinska Institutet | Beck O.,Karolinska Institutet | Hagerkvist R.,Swedish Poisons Information Center | Hulten P.,Swedish Poisons Information Center
Scandinavian Journal of Clinical and Laboratory Investigation | Year: 2013

Aim. The study aimed to collect information concerning the increasing use of new psychoactive substances, commonly sold through online shops as 'Internet drugs' or 'legal highs', or in terms of masked products such as 'bath salts' and 'plant food'. Methods. The Karolinska Institutet and Karolinska University Laboratory and the Swedish Poisons Information Centre have initiated a project called 'STRIDA' aiming to monitor the occurrence and trends of new psychoactive substances in Sweden, and collect information about their clinical symptoms, toxicity and associated health risks. A liquid chromatographic-tandem mass spectrometric (LC-MS/MS) multi-component method has been developed, currently allowing for the determination of > 80 novel psychoactive compounds or metabolites thereof. This study focused mainly on the particular drug substances identified and the population demographics of the initial STRIDA cases. Results. In urine and/or blood samples obtained from 103 consecutive cases of admitted or suspected recreational drug intoxications in mostly young subjects (78% were ≤ 25 years, and 81% were males) presenting at emergency departments all over the country, psychoactive substances were detected in 82%. The substances comprised synthetic cannabinoids ('Spice'; JWH analogues), substituted cathinones ('bath salts'; e.g. butylone, MDPV and methylone) and tryptamines (4-HO-MET), plant-based substances (mitragynine and psilocin), as well as conventional drugs-of-abuse. In 44% of the cases, more than one new psychoactive substance, or a mixture of new and/or conventional drugs were detected. Conclusion. The initial results of the STRIDA project have documented use of a broad variety of new psychoactive substances among mainly young people all over Sweden. © 2013 Informa Healthcare.


Beck O.,Karolinska Institutet | Beck O.,University of Stockholm | Franzen L.,Swedish Poisons Information Center | Backberg M.,Swedish Poisons Information Center | And 3 more authors.
Clinical Toxicology | Year: 2015

Context: In the recent years, there have been an increasing number of new psychoactive substances (NPS) available through marketing and sale on the Internet. The stimulant 3,4-methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV) is a potent dopamine reuptake inhibitor, which can cause serious intoxications requiring intensive care and even fatality. This report from the STRIDA project presents the prevalence, laboratory results, and clinical features in a series of intoxications involving MDPV over a 5-year period. Study design: Observational case series of consecutive patients with admitted or suspected intake of NPS presented at hospitals in Sweden from 2010 to 2014. Patients and methods: Blood and/or urine samples were collected from intoxicated patients with admitted or suspected intake of NPS presenting at hospitals over the country. Analysis of NPS was performed by a liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry multicomponent method. Clinical data were collected when caregivers consulted the Swedish Poisons Information Centre and also retrieved from medical records. The severity of poisoning was graded retrospectively using the poisoning severity score. Results: During the 5-year study period, the number of MDPV-related inquiries to the Poisons Information Centre was 662 out of a total ∼4500 suspected NPS-related inquiries (∼15%), and 201 analytically confirmed MDPV intoxications were enrolled in the study. The study period covered the period when the use of MDPV in Sweden was at its peak and also the decline to an almost zero level. The age range of patients was 18-68 (mean 36, median 35) years, and 71% were males. The MDPV concentrations in serum ranged between 1.0 ng/mL and 1509 ng/mL (mean 63.6, median 20) and between 1.0 ng/mL and 81 000 ng/mL (mean 3880, median 1160) in urine. The urinary values were also creatinine corrected for variation in urine dilution, and the MDPV/creatinine ratio ranged between 0.10 ng/mmol and 2480 ng/mmol (mean 247, median 92.6). There was a statistically significant association between the serum MDPV concentration and the urinary MDPV/creatinine ratio, for 118 cases where both data were available (r = 0.764; p < 0.0001, Spearmans rank correlation). In 30 (15%) cases, MDPV was the single psychoactive substance identified in the serum or urine specimens. In the other 171 cases, other psychoactive substances were detected together with MDPV. The additional substances (n = 61) comprised of both conventional drugs of abuse, other NPS (n = 39), pharmaceuticals, and ethanol. The cathinone-derivative alpha-pyrrolidinovalerophenone (α-PVP) was the most frequent other NPS, and was detected in 58 (29%) cases, followed by methylone in 14 (7%) cases. The main clinical manifestations reported in patients testing positive for MDPV included agitation, tachycardia (≥100/min), and hypertension (systolic blood pressure ≥140 mmHg), which were observed in 130 (67%), 106 (56%), and 65 (34%) cases, respectively. Other symptoms included hallucinations (n = 31, 16%), delirium (n = 29, 15%), hyperthermia (>39°C/102.4°F; n = 18, 10%), and rhabdomyolysis (n = 16, 8%). In MDPV intoxications with serum levels >100 ng/mL, the cases were graded as more severe and hyperthermia was less common.Conclusions: In a large number of analytically confirmed MDPV intoxications from mostly polydrug users, the urine and serum MDPV concentrations showed a high variability. The clinical features were consistent with a severe sympathomimetic toxidrome. The results also demonstrated that MDPV prevailed as a drug of abuse for a long time, after its classification as a narcotic substance and despite a high incidence of severe poisonings. © 2015 Taylor & Francis.


PubMed | Karolinska Institutet, Dermipath AB and Swedish Poisons Information Center
Type: | Journal: The British journal of dermatology | Year: 2016

The introduction of unclassified new psychoactive substances (NPS) on the recreational drugs market through open online sale (legal highs or Internet drugs) continues unabated and represents a growing health hazard. The use of NPS has resulted in numerous, severe, adverse events and fatalities, due to unintended overdose or unknown toxic side-effects.To try to find a possible common underlying cause for the skin-hair-eye symptoms complex observed in three men.From late 2013 to mid-2014, three Swedish men aged 23-34 years with a history of recreational drug use independently presented with similar and very remarkable clinical signs, requiring extensive examination and prolonged treatment.Common clinical signs included hair depigmentation, hair loss, widespread folliculitis and dermatitis, painful intertriginous dermatitis, dry eyes, and elevated liver enzymes. Two of them also showed transverse white Mees lines (leukonychia striata) on the fingernails and toenails, suggesting a temporary, drug-induced, disorganized keratinization. The clinical signs gradually disappeared over time. However, later on, two developed severe bilateral secondary cataracts requiring surgery. Because drug tests within the Swedish STRIDA project had demonstrated intake of the NPS opioid MT-45 in all patients, this was suspected to be the common causative agent.These cases highlight the importance for physicians and health professionals to consider the increasing number of novel, untested recreational drugs, as a potential cause of unusual and otherwise unrecognized clinical signs and symptoms.


Persson H.,Swedish Poisons Information Center
Medicine | Year: 2012

The incidence of fungal poisoning varies a lot in a global perspective and is related to local habits, economic factors and lifestyle. Among thousands of mushroom species fewer than a hundred are toxic. Most fungal toxins cause mild or moderate poisoning. However, it is the ingestion of a few species of extremely poisonous fungi that define the medical dimension of the problem. Mushroom poisoning is mostly accidental and the result of a mix-up between edible and toxic fungi, but intentional ingestion of psychotropic ('magic') mushrooms is also a problem. The most dreaded poisonings are those caused by cytotoxic agents, e.g. amatoxins in death cap and destroying angel (severe gastroenteritis and liver damage) or orellanine in Cortinarius spp. (kidney damage). Dramatic, but rarely lethal, effects are caused by fungi holding neurotoxins like muscarine (Clitocybe and Inocybe spp.), psilocybin (Psilocybe and Panaeolus spp. - 'magic' mushrooms), isoxazoles (fly agaric and panther cap) and gyromitrin (false morels). Most poisonous species cause gastroenteritis only. Treatment includes gastrointestinal decontamination and general symptomatic and supportive care. Specific antidotes exist for fungi containing muscarine, gyromitrin and amatoxins. © 2011 Published by Elsevier Ltd.

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