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May 1982

Massive Phencyclidine Intoxication

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Neurology (Drs Fallis and Weiner) and Psychiatry (Drs Aniline and Pitts), University of Southern California School of Medicine, Los Angeles.

Arch Neurol. 1982;39(5):316. doi:10.1001/archneur.1982.00510170058019

Phencyclidine hydrochloride (PCP) abuse has reached epidemic proportions in many urban settings.1 Case findings indicate that from 1978 to 1980 phencyclidine was associated with 80% of all cases of drug over-doses seen at the Los Angeles County-University of Southern California (LAC-USC) Medical Center, Los Angeles.2,3

Phencyclidine is associated with a wide range of symptoms.1,2,4 We report a case of massive phencyclidine intoxication that emphasizes the critical role of a specific and sensitive analytical method in the diagnosis of this intoxication.

REPORT OF A CASE  A 19-year-old previously healthy man was brought to the hospital with seizures and bizarre behavior. A detailed neurologic evaluation did not show any abnormalities. A toxicologic search for phencyclidine, routinely performed by gas chromatography with flame ionization detection (GC-FID), was negative. He was discharged but returned four days later in a stupor with periods of delirium. His temperature was 39.8 °C, and

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