Analysis of Synthetic Cathinones Commonly Found in Bath Salts in Human Performance and Postmortem Toxicology: Method Development, Drug Distribution and Interpretation of Results
ABSTRACT To date, the Toxicology Section of the Montgomery County Coroner's Office/Miami Valley Regional Crime Laboratory has identified six synthetic cathinones, commonly found in bath salt products, in 43 cases. Thirty-two cases will be reviewed here, including all of the postmortem cases, all of the human performance cases that had blood specimens submitted, and one urine-only human performance case. The following compounds have been confirmed: 3,4-methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV), 3,4-methylenedioxymethcathinone (methylone), pyrovalerone, pentylone, alpha-pyrrolidinopentiophenone (alpha-PVP) and methedrone. The method also screens for mephedrone, butylone and 3-fluoromethcathinone. Case demographics show 42 white males and females ranging in age from 19 to 53 years. The remaining case was that of a 34-year-old Hispanic male. The 43 cases represent 17 driving under the influence, two domestic violence, four suicides, 12 overdoses, six accidents, one drug-facilitated assault and one homicide. Data will be presented on the distribution of some of these cathinones in various matrices. After review, blood concentration does not appear to predict outcome regarding fatalities or impairment. The highest MDPV concentration occurred in a suicide by hanging and the highest methylone concentration was in a driver. The confirmation method is a liquid-liquid extraction with detection by liquid chromatography triple quadrupole mass spectrometry using electrospray ionization in multiple reaction monitoring mode.
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ABSTRACT: The pharmacology of novel psychoactive substances is mostly unknown. We evaluated the transporter and receptor interaction profiles of a series of para-(4)-substituted amphetamines and pyrovalerone cathinones. We tested the potency of these compounds to inhibit the norepinephrine (NE), dopamine (DA), and serotonin (5-HT) transporters (NET, DAT, and SERT, respectively) using human embryonic kidney 293 cells that express the respective human transporters. We also tested the substance-induced efflux of NE, DA, and 5-HT from monoamine-loaded cells, binding affinities to monoamine receptors, and 5-HT2B receptor activation. Para-(4)-substituted amphetamines, including 4-methylmethcathinone (mephedrone), 4-ethylmethcathinone, 4-fluoroamphetamine, 4-fluoromethamphetamine, 4-fluoromethcatinone (flephedrone), and 4-bromomethcathinone, were relatively more serotonergic (lower DAT:SERT ratio) compared with their analogs amphetamine, methamphetamine, and methcathinone. The 4-methyl, 4-ethyl, and 4-bromo groups resulted in enhanced serotonergic properties compared with the 4-fluoro group. The para-substituted amphetamines released NE and DA. 4-Fluoramphetamine, 4-flouromethamphetamine, 4-methylmethcathinone, and 4-ethylmethcathinone also released 5-HT similarly to 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine. The pyrovalerone cathinones 3,4-methylenedioxypyrovalerone, pyrovalerone, α-pyrrolidinovalerophenone, 3,4-methylenedioxy-α-pyrrolidinopropiophenone, and 3,4-methylenedioxy-α-pyrrolidinobutiophenone potently inhibited the NET and DAT but not the SERT. Naphyrone was the only pyrovalerone that also inhibited the SERT. The pyrovalerone cathinones did not release monoamines. Most of the para-substituted amphetamines exhibited affinity for the 5-HT2A receptor but no relevant activation of the 5-HT2B receptor. All of the cathinones exhibited reduced trace amine-associated receptor 1 binding compared with the non-β-keto-amphetamines. In conclusion, para-substituted amphetamines exhibited enhanced direct and indirect serotonergic agonist properties and are likely associated with more MDMA-like effects. The pharmacological profile of the pyrovalerone cathinones predicts pronounced stimulant effects and high abuse liability.European Neuropsychopharmacology 01/2015; 25(3). DOI:10.1016/j.euroneuro.2014.12.012 · 5.40 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Abstract A synthetic cathinone called 4-methylethcathinone (4-MEC) emerged online in 2010, and was cyber-marketed to be a replacement for mephedrone. The study aimed to present user experiences of 4-MEC as reported on the Internet, with a focus on user profiles, sourcing and product characteristics, routes of administration, dosage, positive and undesirable effects, and comparisons to mephedrone. Twenty-three individual, anonymous trip reports of the sole use of 4-MEC, and 112 screenshots of general 4-MEC user discussion boards, were taken from a purposeful sample of public drug-related sites. A content textual analysis was conducted on extracted qualitative information and produced 41 categories compiled into five general themes: "Type of 4-MEC user"; "Sourcing, informed decision making, product characteristics, and quality assurance"; "Routes of administration, gauging of dosage, and consumption of other drugs"; "Time course effects and outcomes"; and "Comparisons with mephedrone." 4-MEC is sold as white beads, crystalline shards, or green balls. User motives centered on curiosity, pricing, and ease of web sourcing. Oral, nasal, injecting, eyeball, and rectal routes of administration were described. Testing for purity, "allergy testing," and gauging of dosage were common. Users described euphoric but short-lived effects, with little comedown. Continued research is vital to inform harm reduction.Journal of psychoactive drugs 09/2014; 46(4):273-286. DOI:10.1080/02791072.2014.934979 · 1.10 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: There has been a dramatic rise in the abuse of synthetic cathinones known as "bath salts," including 3,4-methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV), an analog linked to many adverse events. MDPV differs from other synthetic cathinones because it contains a pyrrolidine ring which gives the drug potent actions as an uptake blocker at dopamine and norepinephrine transporters. While MDPV is now illegal, a wave of "second generation" pyrrolidinophenones has appeared on the market, with α-pyrrolidinovalerophenone (α-PVP) being most popular. Here, we sought to compare the in vitro and in vivo pharmacological effects of MDPV and its congeners: α-PVP, α-pyrrolidinobutiophenone (α-PBP), and α-pyrrolidinopropiophenone (α-PPP). We examined effects of test drugs in transporter uptake and release assays using rat brain synaptosomes, then assessed behavioral stimulant effects in mice. We found that α-PVP is a potent uptake blocker at dopamine and norepinephrine transporters, similar to MDPV. α-PBP and α-PPP are also catecholamine transporter blockers but display reduced potency. All of the test drugs are locomotor stimulants, and the rank order of in vivo potency parallels dopamine transporter activity, with MDPV>α-PVP>α-PBP>α-PPP. Motor activation produced by all drugs is reversed by the dopamine receptor antagonist SCH23390. Furthermore, results of a functional observational battery show that all test drugs produce typical stimulant effects at lower doses and some drugs produce bizarre behaviors at higher doses. Taken together, our findings represent the first evidence that second generation analogs of MDPV are catecholamine-selective uptake blockers which may pose risk for addiction and adverse effects in human users.Neuropharmacology 03/2014; 87. DOI:10.1016/j.neuropharm.2014.02.016 · 4.82 Impact Factor