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Hallucinogen Use Workup

  • Author: Brooke S Parish, MD; Chief Editor: Eduardo Dunayevich, MD  more...
Updated: Nov 23, 2015

Laboratory Studies

In general, laboratory studies do not play a large role in the diagnosis and treatment of hallucinogen poisoning.

  • Only a few hallucinogenic agents show up on standard toxicological screens. These include MDMA (positive for amphetamines), PCP, and marijuana.
  • Treatment of hallucinogen poisoning is rarely affected by drug screen results.
  • Dextromethorphan (as in Robitussin DM) may cause a false-positive result for the presence of PCP.

Metabolic abnormalities should be sought and aggressively treated.

  • MDMA may cause hyponatremia.
  • PCP and MDMA may cause rhabdomyolysis and subsequent myoglobinuric renal failure. Check the creatine kinase level.
  • Always exclude hypoglycemia as a cause of altered mental status.

Imaging Studies

A CT scan of the head is indicated in all patients with an unexplained alteration in mental status.

Contributor Information and Disclosures

Brooke S Parish, MD Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of New Mexico School of Medicine

Brooke S Parish, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American College of Physicians, American Psychiatric Association

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.


Scott Cameron, MD Consulting Staff, Department of Emergency Medicine, Regions Hospital

Scott Cameron, MD is a member of the following medical societies: Alpha Omega Alpha, American Academy of Emergency Medicine, American College of Emergency Physicians, American Medical Association

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Michael E Richards, MD, MPA Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Emergency Medicine, University of New Mexico School of Medicine

Michael E Richards, MD, MPA is a member of the following medical societies: American College of Emergency Physicians, National Association of EMS Physicians, Society for Academic Emergency Medicine

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Specialty Editor Board

Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD Adjunct Assistant Professor, University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Pharmacy; Editor-in-Chief, Medscape Drug Reference

Disclosure: Received salary from Medscape for employment. for: Medscape.

Chief Editor

Eduardo Dunayevich, MD Executive Director, Clinical Development, Amgen

Eduardo Dunayevich, MD is a member of the following medical societies: Schizophrenia International Research Society

Disclosure: Received salary from Amgen for employment; Received stock from Amgen for employment.


Ronald C Albucher, MD Chief Medical Officer, Westside Community Services; Consulting Staff, California Pacific Medical Center

Ronald C Albucher, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Psychiatric Association

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

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Hallucinogens. Claviceps purpurea.
Hallucinogens. Morning glory (Ipomoea violacea).
Hallucinogens. Bufo marinus.
Hallucinogens. Psilocybe coprophilia.
Hallucinogens. Amanita muscaria.
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