Solvent Abuse, Dependence and Withdrawal

A solvent is defined as a liquid that has the ability to dissolve, suspend or extract another material without chemical change to either the material or solvent.  Organic solvents are found in numerous household and industrial products including glues, household cleaners, degreasers, thinners, paints, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and pesticides. The group includes aliphatic, cyclic, aromatic and halogenated hydrocarbons, ethers, esters, glycols, ketones, aldehydes and amines. Common solvents include isopropanol, toluene and xylene. Other volatile hydrocarbons more commonly used as fuels, such as petrol, kerosene and butane (used as lighter fuel), have similar physicochemical properties, clinical effects and abuse potential.

References

  • Carlisle EJF, Donnelly SM, Vasuvattakul S et al.  Glue-sniffing and distal renal tubular acidosis: sticking to the facts.  Journal of the American Society of Nephrology 1991; 1:1019-1027.
  • Dick FD.  Solvent neurotoxicity.  Occupational and Environmental Medicine 2006; 63:221-226.
  • Flanagan RJ, Ruprah M, Meredith TJ et al.  An introduction to the clinical toxicology of volatile substances.  Drug Safety 1990; 5:359-383.
  • Maruff P, Burns CB, Tyler P et al.  Neurological and cognitive abnormalities associated with chronic petrol sniffing.  Brain 1998; 121:1903-1917.
  • Rosenberg NL, Grigsby J, Driesbach J et al.  Neuropsychological impairment and MRI abnormalities associated with chronic solvent abuse.  Clinical Toxicology 2002; 40(1):21-24.
  • Yucel M, Takagi M, Walterfang M et al.  Toluene misuse and long-term harms: a systematic review of the neuropsychological and neuroimaging literature  Neuroscience and Biobehavioural Reviews 2008; 32:910-926.

Toxicology Handbook

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