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Phencyclidine (PCP)

A psychoactive drug with central nervous system depressant, stimulant, analgesic, and hallucinogenic effects. It was introduced into clinical medicine as a dissociative anaesthetic but its use was abandoned because of the frequent occurrence of an acute syndrome consisting of disorientation, agitation, and delirium. It appears to be of value in treatment of stroke. PCP is relatively cheap and easy to synthesize and has been in use as an illicit drug since the 1970s. Related agents that produce similar effects include dexoxadrol and ketamine.

In illicit use PCP may be taken orally, intravenously, or by sniffing, but it is usually smoked; effects begin within 5 minutes and peak at about 30 minutes. At first, the user feels euphoria, body warmth, and tingling, floating sensations, and a feeling of calm isolation. Auditory and visual hallucinations may appear, as well as altered body image, distorted perceptions of space and time, delusions, and disorganization of thought. Accompanying neurological and physiological symptoms are dose-related and include hypertension, nystagmus, ataxia, dysarthria, grimacing, profuse sweating, hyperreflexia, diminished re- sponsiveness to pain, muscle rigidity, hyperpyrexia, hyperacusis, and seizures.

Effects usually last for 4-6 hours, although residual effects may take several days or longer to clear. During the immediate recovery period there may be self-destructive or violent behaviour. PCP delirium, PCP delusional disorder, and PCP mood disorder have been observed. As is the case with the hallucinogens, it is not known whether such disorders are specific drug effects or a manifestation of pre-existing vulnerability. In ICD-10, PCP-related disorders are classed with hallucinogens (F16).
poisoning, alcohol or drug (T40, Ts1, X61, X61, X6s, X66) A state of major disturbance of consciousness level, vital functions, and behaviour following the administration in excessive dosage (deliberately or accidentally) of a psychoactive substance. (See overdose & intoxication). In the field of toxicology, the term poisoning is used more broadly to denote a state resulting from the administration of excessive amounts of any pharmacological agent, psychoactive or not.

WHO Lexicon of alcohol and drug terms