Mephedrone (4-methylmethcathinone; ‘meow meow’): chemical, pharmacological and clinical issues

School of Pharmacy, College Lane Campus, University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield, Herftordshire, AL10 9AB, UK.
Psychopharmacology (Impact Factor: 3.99). 11/2010; 214(3):593-602. DOI: 10.1007/s00213-010-2070-x
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Recently, those substances deriving from the active ingredient of the Khat plant, cathinone, have been rising in popularity. Indeed, 4-methylmethcathinone (mephedrone; 'meow meow' and others) has been seen by some as a cheaper alternative to other classified recreational drugs.
We aimed here at providing a state-of-the-art review on mephedrone history and prevalence of misuse, chemistry, pharmacology, legal status, product market appearance, clinical/management and related fatalities.
Because of the limited evidence, some of the information here presented has been obtained from user reports/drug user-orientated web sites. The most common routes for mephedrone recreational use include insufflation and oral ingestion. It elicits stimulant and empathogenic effects similar to amphetamine, methylamphetamine, cocaine and MDMA. Due to its sympathomimetic actions, mephedrone may be associated with a number of both physical and psychopathological side effects. Recent preliminary analysis of recent UK data carried out in 48 related cases have provided positive results for the presence of mephedrone at postmortem.
Within the UK, diffusion of mephedrone may have been associated with an unprecedented combination of a particularly aggressive online marketing policy and a decreasing availability/purity of both ecstasy and cocaine. Mephedrone has been recently classified in both the UK and in a number of other countries as a measure to control its availability. Following this, a few other research psychoactives have recently entered the online market as yet unregulated substances that may substitute for mephedrone. Only international collaborative efforts may be able to tackle the phenomenon of the regular offer of novel psychoactive drugs.

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Available from: Zsolt Demetrovics, Aug 21, 2015
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    • "Source: da-antagonist-market/ Bingham, 2013b) and are untested compounds for which no formal toxicology profiles exist (Schifano et al. 2011; Winstock et al. 2011; Corazza et al. 2012), with scant safety information surrounding content, possible side-effects, and interactions with other substances (Schmidt et al. 2011; Walsh 2011; Kjellgren & Jonsson 2013). Quantitative and qualitative variation in product content, along with misrepresentation of actual contents, occurs (Davies et al. 2010; Schmidt et al. 2011; Zuba & Byrska 2013). "
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    Journal of psychoactive drugs 02/2015; 47(1):30-41. DOI:10.1080/02791072.2014.974002 · 1.10 Impact Factor
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    • "Diffusion of mephedrone has reached extremely high levels of popularity among clubbers (Wood, Greene & Dargan 2011) and its abuse is secondary only to cocaine. The popularity of mephedrone has been associated with a decreasing availability/purity of both MDMA and cocaine (Schifano et al. 2011). Mephedrone has been implicated in a number of deaths, especially in the UK, and in 2010 it was banned in several European countries (Mas-Morey et al. 2013). "
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    • "The monitoring of online data is crucial to track user trends and the development of new designer compounds responding to legislative control (Deluca et al. 2007). Many are untested compounds for which no formal toxicology profiles exist (Schifano et al. 2011; Winstock et al. 2011), with products developed, manufactured, and aggressively marketed so as to displace controlled drugs and circumvent existing regulatory controls (Walsh 2011; Kelly 2011). NPS products often vary quantitatively and qualitatively, with frequent misrepresentation in the labelling of actual contents, despite often originating from the same sourcing routes (Davies et al. 2010; Schmidt et al. 2010; Zuba & Byrska 2013; Jebadurai et al. 2013). "
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