GHB: Therapeutic use

Last modified: Sunday, 31. May 2009 - 3:50 pm

Although GHB was initially developed as an anesthetic, it was never ultimately used in the United States for that purpose. Outside of the United States, however, GHB is still occasionally used for anesthesia, resuscitation, and addiction therapy.
During the 1990s, a U.S. pharmaceutical company Orphan Medical, Inc. began exploring the use of GHB as a therapeutic solution for narcolepsy, a chronic condition that causes excessive daytime sleepiness.
When President Clinton signed the Hillary J. Farias and Samantha Reid Date Rape Drug Prohibition Act into law in 2000, he ordered the DEA to categorize GHB as a dangerous drug with no medical benefits. However, he also allowed Orphan Medical an exemption to continue its research on Therapeutic uses for the compound and to market it for narcolepsy if it was approved by the FDA.
Preliminary studies suggest that GHB-based drugs may also be useful in treating Alzheimer’s disease or Parkinson’s disease, but it is still too early to tell. Two European studies found GHB effective in relieving alcohol craving and alcohol withdrawal symptoms. In one study, alcoholics took a moderated daily dose for three months. Participants reduced their drinking by half, and their days of abstinence tripled. Another study found that GHB relieved opiate withdrawal symptoms.

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