- BD, BDO, blue nitro, blue nitro vitality, busulfan, BusulfexÂ®, but-2-yne-1,4-diol, butane, butane-1,4-diol, butanediol fermentation, butylene glycol, butylene glycol fermentation, caps, cherry fX bombs, cherry meth, circles, easy lay, enliven, euphorigenic, EverclearÂ®, fantasy, firewater, forget-me pill, G, GABA-active agent, gamma-butyrolactone, gamma-G, gamma-hydrate, Î³-hydroxybutyrate, gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB), gamma-hydroxybutyric acid, gamma-hydroxybutyrate sodium, gamma-OH, GBL, Georgia home boy, GHB, GH revitalizer, G.H. revitalizer, GHRE, gib, goop, goops, great hormones at bedtime, grievous bodily harm, g-riffick, growth hormone booster, insom-X, invigorate, la rocha, lemon fX drops, liquid E, liquid ecstasy, liquid X, longevity, Mexican valium, MyleranÂ®, natural sleep-500, nature’s Quaalude, nitro, NRG3, one-comma-four, one-four-B-D-O, one-four-bee, orange fX rush, organic Quaalude, oxy-sleep, pine needle oil, poor man’s heroin, precursor product, R2, remforce, renewtrient, revitalize plus, revivarant, revivarant G, roche, roofies, rope, rophies, salty water, scoop, serenity, soap, sodium oxybate, sodium oxybutyrate, somatomax, somatomax PM, somatoPro, somsanit, tetramethylene-1,4-diol, tetramethylene glycol, thunder nectar, vita-G, water, weight belt cleaner, wolfies, zonked.
- 1,4-Butanediol is a colorless, thick liquid that is converted into gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB) after ingestion. GHB is a strong sedative that is often used as a date-rape drug because it is easily concealed in water due to a lack of smell and taste.
- GHB is a metabolite of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), an inhibitory neurotransmitter, and has been linked to cases of dependence, coma, and death. GBL (gamma-butyrolactone), a solvent commonly used as a paint stripper, is another precursor for GHB. 1,4-Butanediol itself is used as an industrial chemical to make some plastics and fibers.
- GHB, GBL, and 1,4-butanediol are prevalent drugs of abuse in the United States. While available as a prescription drug for sleep disorders in some other countries, GHB was banned in the United States by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1990 because of the dangers associated with its use. It has since been approved only for the treatment of a rare form of narcolepsy (a sleep disorder that result in excessive daytime sleepiness). In Europe, GHB has been used as an anesthetic and experimentally to treat alcohol withdrawal.
These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
*Key to grades:
The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.
Adults (18 years and older)
- There is no proven safe or effective dose for butanediol or gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB). Traditionally, doses of 0.25-1 grams of butanediol have been used for stimulating the release of growth hormone, for muscle growth, and for treating insomnia. For narcolepsy, 3 grams of GHB has been taken twice nightly, four hours apart.
Children (under 18 years old)
- There is no proven safe or effective dose for butanediol or GHB in children.
The below doses are based on scientific research, publications, traditional use, or expert opinion. Many herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested, and safety and effectiveness may not be proven. Brands may be made differently, with variable ingredients, even within the same brand. The below doses may not apply to all products. You should read product labels, and discuss doses with a qualified healthcare provider before starting therapy.
- There is a lack of information about allergies to butanediol or gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB).
Side Effects and Warnings
- Taking 1,4-butanediol (present in various nutritional supplements) by mouth has been linked to numerous deaths from pulmonary edema (abnormal build up of fluid in the air sacs of the lungs, leading to shortness of breath). Closely related products, gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB) and gamma-butyrolactone (GBL), are also likely unsafe due to their ability to produce similar effects.
- 1,4-Butanediol and GHB may cause severe sedative effects as well as slow heart rate (bradycardia), involuntary eye movements (nystagmus), dizziness (vertigo), lack of muscle coordination (ataxia), sedation or drowsiness, confusion, short-term amnesia, coma, tonic-clonic seizure-like activity, insomnia, and respiratory depression that may require intubation.
- Butanediol may cause aggression, agitation, flailing episodes, treatment-resistant psychoses, hallucinations, anxiety, delusions, and combativeness.
- Use cautiously with alcohol, narcotic pain relievers, antipsychotic drugs, sedatives, drugs used to treat seizures, stimulants, and skeletal muscle relaxants.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
- Butanediol is not recommended in pregnant or breastfeeding women due to a lack of available scientific evidence.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.
Interactions with Drugs
- Butanediol may enhance the effects of alcohol, leading to further intoxication.
- Butanediol and/or gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB) may enhance the effects of narcotic pain relievers, such as morphine, anesthetics, antipsychotic drugs, antianxiety drugs, and sedatives.
- Butanediol and/or GHB may interfere with the effects of drugs used to treat/prevent seizures and stimulants.
- Antiretroviral drugs may inhibit the metabolism of GHB. Therefore, if taken together, a serious reaction may occur.
- Butanediol may have serious adverse effects when taken together with skeletal muscle relaxants.
Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements
- Butanediol may enhance the effects of alcohol, leading to further intoxication.
- Butanediol and/or gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB) may enhance the effects of anesthetics, antipsychotic herbs, antianxiety herbs, and sedatives.
- Butanediol and/or GHB may interfere with the effects of herbs used to treat/prevent seizures and stimulants.
Most herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions listed below are based on reports in scientific publications, laboratory experiments, or traditional use. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy.
- This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration ().
- Caputo, F., Addolorato, G., Stoppo, M., Francini, S., Vignoli, T., Lorenzini, F., Del Re, A., Comaschi, C., Andreone, P., Trevisani, F., Bernardi, M., and Alcohol Treatment Study Group. Comparing and combining gamma-hydroxybutyric acid (GHB) and naltrexone in maintaining abstinence from alcohol: an open randomised comparative study. Eur.Neuropsychopharmacol. 2007;17(12):781-789.
- Caputo, F., Vignoli, T., Lorenzini, F., Ciuffoli, E., Del Re, A., Stefanini, G. F., Addolorato, G., Trevisani, F., and Bernardi, M. Suppression of craving for gamma-hydroxybutyric acid by naltrexone administration: three case reports. Clin.Neuropharmacol. 2005;28(2):87-89.
- Dyer, JE. Evolving abuse of GHB in California: bodybuilding drug to date-rape drug. J Toxicol Clin Toxicol 2000;38:184.
- Gervasi, N., Monnier, Z., Vincent, P., Paupardin-Tritsch, D., Hughes, S. W., Crunelli, V., and Leresche, N. Pathway-specific action of gamma-hydroxybutyric acid in sensory thalamus and its relevance to absence seizures. J Neurosci. 12-10-2003;23(36):11469-11478.
- Gunja, N., Doyle, E., Carpenter, K., Chan, O. T., Gilmore, S., Browne, G., and Graudins, A. Gamma-hydroxybutyrate poisoning from toy beads. Med J Aust. 1-7-2008;188(1):54-55.
- Harrington, R. D., Woodward, J. A., Hooton, T. M., and Horn, J. R. Life-threatening interactions between HIV-1 protease inhibitors and the illicit drugs MDMA and gamma-hydroxybutyrate. Arch Intern.Med 10-11-1999;159(18):2221-2224.
- Irwin, R. D. A review of evidence leading to the prediction that 1,4-butanediol is not a carcinogen. J Appl.Toxicol. 2006;26(1):72-80.
- Maldonado, C., Rodriiuez-Arias, M., Aguilar, M. A., and Minarro, J. GHB differentially affects morphine actions on motor activity and social behaviours in male mice. Pharmacol Biochem.Behav. 2003;76(2):259-265.
- Navarro, J. F., Davila, G., Pedraza, C., and Arias, J. L. Anxiogenic-like effects of gamma-hydroxybutyric acid (GHB) in mice tested in the light-dark box. Psicothema. 2008;20(3):460-464.
- Ricaurte, G. A. and McCann, U. D. Recognition and management of complications of new recreational drug use. Lancet 6-18-2005;365(9477):2137-2145.
- Shannon, M. and Quang, L. S. Gamma-hydroxybutyrate, gamma-butyrolactone, and 1,4-butanediol: a case report and review of the literature. Pediatr.Emerg.Care 2000;16(6):435-440.
- Tarabar, A. F. and Nelson, L. S. The gamma-hydroxybutyrate withdrawal syndrome. Toxicol.Rev. 2004;23(1):45-49.
- Thai, D., Dyer, J. E., Jacob, P., and Haller, C. A. Clinical pharmacology of 1,4-butanediol and gamma-hydroxybutyrate after oral 1,4-butanediol administration to healthy volunteers. Clin.Pharmacol Ther. 2007;81(2):178-184.
- van Nieuwenhuijzen, P. S. and McGregor, I. S. Sedative and hypothermic effects of gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB) in rats alone and in combination with other drugs: assessment using biotelemetry. Drug Alcohol Depend. 8-1-2009;103(3):137-147.
- Zvosec, D. L., Smith, S. W., McCutcheon, J. R., Spillane, J., Hall, B. J., and Peacock, E. A. Adverse events, including death, associated with the use of 1,4-butanediol. N.Engl.J.Med. 1-11-2001;344(2):87-94.
Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to . Selected references are listed below.