Please note: This information was current at the time of publication. But medical information is always changing, and some information given here may be out of date. For regularly updated information on a variety of health topics, please visit, the AAFP patient education Web site.

Information from Your Family Doctor

Gamma-Hydroxybutyrate (GHB)

Am Fam Physician. 2000 Dec 1;62(11):2483.

See related article on gamma-hydroxybutyrate.

What is GHB?

Gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB) is an illegal drug that is used as a muscle builder, a “party drug” and a “date-rape” drug. GHB comes in a liquid and a powder form. GHB has been linked to many serious illnesses and even deaths.

What are the dangers of GHB use?

GHB causes many problems including:

  • Drowsiness

  • Dizziness

  • Nausea

  • Vomiting

  • Changes in blood pressure

  • Trouble breathing

  • Aggressive behavior

  • Impaired judgment

  • Hallucinations

  • Seizures

  • Coma

  • Death

These effects usually appear 10 to 20 minutes after taking the drug.

Should I be worried about GHB?

Yes. Because GHB has no color or smell, it can easily be slipped into drinks and food. A very small amount of GHB may cause you to “black-out” (unconsciousness). GHB is often used as a “date-rape” drug. Don't take drinks from people you don't know or drink from containers you didn't open yourself.

What should I tell my children about GHB?

GHB is used most often by teenagers and young adults. Talk with your children about the dangers of GHB. Warn them not to accept drinks from strangers. Tell them to keep their drinks with them all the time, even if they go into the bathroom. If you have questions, ask your doctor.

Common street names of GHB

Blue nitro

Cherry fX bombs

Cherry meth

Easy lay



Gamma G

Georgia homeboy


G.H. revitalizer



Great hormones at bedtime

Grievous bodily harm


Growth hormone booster



Lemon fX drops

Liquid ecstasy

Liquid E

Liquid X


Natural sleep-500

Nature's quaalude

Orange fX rush

Organic quaalude


Poor man's heroin



Salty water


Soap Somatomax PM







This handout is provided to you by your family doctor and the American Academy of Family Physicians. Other health-related information is available from the AAFP online at

This information provides a general overview and may not apply to everyone. Talk to your family doctor to find out if this information applies to you and to get more information on this subject.

Copyright © 2000 by the American Academy of Family Physicians.
This content is owned by the AAFP. A person viewing it online may make one printout of the material and may use that printout only for his or her personal, non-commercial reference. This material may not otherwise be downloaded, copied, printed, stored, transmitted or reproduced in any medium, whether now known or later invented, except as authorized in writing by the AAFP. Contact for copyright questions and/or permission requests.

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