Gamma-Hydroxybutyric acid (GHB)


Gamma-Hydroxybutyric acid (GHB) is another name for the generic drug sodium oxybate. Xyrem ® (which is sodium oxybate) is the trade name of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)- approved prescription medication. Analogues that are often substituted for GHB include GBL (gamma butyrolactone) and 1,4 BD (also called just “BD”), which is 1,4- butanediol. These analogues are available legally as industrial solvents used to produce polyurethane, pesticides, elastic fibers, pharmaceuticals, coatings on metal or plastic, and other products. They are also sold illicitly as supplements for bodybuilding, fat loss, reversal of baldness, improved eyesight, and to combat aging, depression, drug addiction, and insomnia. GBL and BD are sold as “fish tank cleaner,” “ink stain remover,” “ink cartridge cleaner” and “nail enamel remover” for approximately $100 per bottle — much more expensive than comparable products. Attempts to identify the abuse of GHB analogues are hampered by the fact that routine toxicological screens do not detect the presence of these analogues.