The urinary excretion of γ-hydroxybutyric acid in man


Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, Trinity College, Dublin 2, Ireland. E-mail:


γ-Hydroxybutyric acid (GHB) has been widely associated with drug-facilitated sexual assault (DFSA). However, its excretion profile in man has not been well characterized. To assess the detectability of GHB for forensic cases and to correlate urinary levels with dose, we have examined the excretion profiles of 1- and 2-g doses of GHB (sodium salt) in a healthy male volunteer. The urinary levels were measured by a novel, simple and highly reproducible method. The drug was found to be excreted in small amounts in the free form (0.86 and 1.16% for 1- and 2-g doses, respectively) rapidly in urine (≤ 10 h). The urinary levels were found to be in the low mg L−1 range (up to 29.1 mg L−1). The work presented demonstrates that it is of the utmost importance to collect the samples as soon as possible following the alleged assault.