"Bath salt" ingestion leading to severe intoxication delirium: two cases and a brief review of the emergence of mephedrone use

Am J Drug Alcohol Abuse. 2012 Mar;38(2):176-80. doi: 10.3109/00952990.2011.643999. Epub 2012 Jan 5.

Abstract

Background: Recreational use of designer substances containing synthetic cathinones such as mephedrone, commonly sold as "bath salts," has recently been increasing in the United States (National Institute on Drug Abuse. Available at: http://www.nida.nih.gov/about/welcome/MessageBathSalts211.html. Accessed March 25, 2011; The Washington Post. Available at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/officials-fear-bath-salts-becoming-the-next-big-drug-menace/2011/01/22/ABybyRJ_story.html. Accessed March 25, 2011). "Bath salt" ingestion can generate an intense stimulant toxidrome and has been associated with significant morbidity.

Objectives: The authors seek to alert clinicians to the potential for profound delirium, psychosis, and other medical and behavioral sequelae of "bath salt" use.

Methods: Case series.

Results: We describe our recent experience with two highly agitated and delirious patients following "bath salt" ingestion and offer a brief review of the emergence of this phenomenon.

Conclusions: Challenges and strategies surrounding diagnosis and treatment are described, which may be useful as "bath salt" use becomes more widespread.

Scientific significance: As an emerging trend, bath salt intoxication delirium appears to cause intense psychosis that can be managed with antipsychotic medications. Clinicians should be aware of this phenomenon until more precise detection methods are available.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Delirium / chemically induced*
  • Designer Drugs*
  • Humans
  • Illicit Drugs*
  • Male
  • Methamphetamine / administration & dosage
  • Methamphetamine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Psychoses, Substance-Induced / diagnosis*

Substances

  • Designer Drugs
  • Illicit Drugs
  • Methamphetamine
  • mephedrone