Medicine (MD/DO)
Toxicities & Antidotes
Phencyclidine (PCP) Intoxication Assessment

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Phencyclidine (PCP) Intoxication Assessment

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Phencyclidine (PCP) Intoxication Assessment

Angel-dust with Toxic-green-glow Assess-man
Phencyclidine (PCP), also known by its street name Angel Dust, is a hallucinogenic substance that induces violent behavior and psychomotor agitation. Episodes of psychoses and delirium may occur. The individual abusing PCP may experience nystagmus, tachycardia, hypertension, and increased pain tolerance within an hour of use. PCP may cause seizures, muscle rigidity, and ultimately death. Treatment of PCP overdose include benzodiazepines and rapid-acting antipsychotics to decrease feelings of agitation and aggression.
Violent Behavior
Violent Behavior

Violent behavior is often seen in individuals abusing PCP. PCP abuse induces rage reactions and impulsivity. Belligerent and aggressive behavior occurs toward the abuser as well as others. Feelings of homicidality may develop.

Motor Issues
Motor with Issues

Psychomotor agitation caused by PCP ingestion results in impaired motor function. Individuals abusing PCP may experience feelings of enhanced strength and endurance.


PCP abuse lead to physical symptoms such as vertical or horizontal nystagmus, or involuntary eye movement that rotates the eyes sideways or up-and-down. Nystagmus may decrease the individual's vision, since it affects the eyes' ability to rotate and sustain visual images.

Increased Pain Tolerance
Up-arrow Pain-bolt Tolerance

Individuals abusing PCP may develop an increased tolerance to pain. The effects of the drug cause numbness or a diminished pain response.


Physical symptoms of PCP abuse include tachycardia and hypertension caused by overstimulation of the sympathetic system.


PCP abuse may induce psychobehavioral symptoms such as delirium. Symptoms of delirium may persist after other effects of PCP wear off. Delirium caused by PCP abuse may be treated with antipsychotics.

Psycho in a Straight-jacket

Individuals abusing PCP may experience psychosis and hallucinations. PCP abuse may cause feelings of disconnection from reality and separation from one's body and environment. Anxiety, depression, and amnesia are also symptoms of psychosis induced by PCP ingestion.


High doses of PCP affects the central nervous system and mental status. PCP abuse may lead to seizures, coma, and ultimately death. Monitor the patient for respiratory issues and initiate respiratory support as needed. The individual abusing PCP may experience neuromuscular disturbances including muscle rigidity and loss of coordination.


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