Cyclizine abuse by teenagers in Utah

Am J Emerg Med. 1996 Sep;14(5):472-4. doi: 10.1016/S0735-6757(96)90156-4.


Substance abuse by teenagers is common, often involving use of alcohol and illicit drugs. Ingestion of cyclizine hydrochloride, a nonprescription medication, was noted to occur frequently in Utah for abuse reasons. A retrospective review was conducted of patients younger than 18 years of age over a 3-year period who intentionally ingested cyclizine identified from Utah Poison Control Center records. Eighty patients were included; 42 patients underwent hospital record review. Abuse accounted for 89% of cyclizine ingestions; hallucinations (70%) and confusion/disorientation (40%) were the most notable symptoms. Tachycardia (52%) and systolic hypertension (69%) were frequently present in patients who presented to a hospital. No serious complications occurred. This study illustrates teenage abuse of one nonprescription antihistamine presumably to induce hallucinations. Abuse of over-the-counter medications by adolescents may be more appealing than illicit drug use for numerous reasons, and may be more common than appreciated.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Cyclizine*
  • Drug Overdose
  • Female
  • Hallucinations / chemically induced
  • Histamine H1 Antagonists*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Multicenter Studies as Topic
  • Nonprescription Drugs
  • Substance-Related Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Suicide, Attempted
  • Utah / epidemiology


  • Histamine H1 Antagonists
  • Nonprescription Drugs
  • Cyclizine