Public Health England update on Superman drug

Suffolk Police   dangerous drug

Police and Public Health England (PHE) are urging people not to take the ‘Superman’ ecstasy (MDMA) pill (pictured), which is believed to still be in circulation after being linked to the deaths of four people over the Christmas and New Year period; two of which were in Suffolk.

The pills have been found in the Netherlands, Sweden and Spain, so PHE has reminded all NHS staff of the need to remain vigilant. The most recent ecstasy tablets sold in Madrid branded with the Superman logo have been found to contain high levels of PMMA (paramethoxymethamphetamine), a more potent chemical linked to a number of recent deaths and hospitalisations in this country.

Please be aware of the outward signs of a patient who may have taken the drug; they may be sweating, have dilated pupils and an elevated mood and the following side effects:

  • cardiovascular system – tachycardia / capillary rupture, causing red marking on the face in particular
  • central nervous system – some patients develop hyperpyrexia which can be life-threatening and they need urgent transfer to hospital for specialist care. Cooling measures may be helpful but should not delay transfer to further care. The patient may also be feeling depressed, panicked and anxious
  • liver failure and severe kidney damage may occur.

The following treatment can be given:

  • administer diazepam to control anxiety and agitation
  • treat convulsions with diazepam
  • if the systolic BP > 222 and diastolic > 140 mmHg in the absence of longstanding hypertension give diazepam
  • correct hypotension by raising the foot of the bed and / or by giving fluids as per medical emergencies.

Please contact the clinical advice line if necessary for further information. Police have urged people to dispose of the drug safely by surrendering it at their local station or at an A&E department.

Published 31st January 2015 

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