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: 3.88). 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, Sep 27, 2015
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    • "However, after regulatory measures that restrict possession, sale, and manufacture of synthetic cathinones passed in the UK, the number of users who purchased the drug from dealers increased considerably, while its price increased, almost two times higher than its price before legislation [4]. Sometimes mephedrone is sold as either cocaine or ecstasy while cut-agents such as paracetamol, caffeine, amphetamine, ketamine and even cocaine may be found in mephedrone [1] [7]. As reported by users and drug-orientated websites, mephedrone is commonly used recreationally either via oral ingestion or insufflation. "
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    ABSTRACT: The aim of this work is to test the stability of mephedrone added to whole blood collected from alive and dead mephedrone free-users and stored at three different temperatures (-20, +4 and +20°C) with and without preservatives up to 6 months, trying to establish the best storage condition in order to reduce possible analyte loss/degradation during the storage period. Different sources of blood were obtained as follow: 10 samples of blood came from 10 alive mephedrone free-users (mean age 34±15.8 years old) (Group 1), whereas 10 post mortem blood samples were obtained from 10 cadavers, in which the post mortem interval was between 24 and 36h (Group 2). The cause of death in post mortem cases (mean age 45±14.2 years old) was not drug related. Pools of blood were spiked with mephedrone at the concentration of 1mg/L and 1mL aliquots were transferred in 2mL Eppendorf capped tubes with and without preservatives as follow: with ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA) 3%; with sodium fluoride/potassium oxalate (NaF/KOx) 1.67%/0.2%, respectively; without preservatives. All samples were stored at three different temperatures: -20°C, 4°C and 20°C and extracted and analyzed in duplicate by GC-MS according to a previously published method by Dickson et al., every other day during the first month and then weekly up to 6 months. our study allow us to affirm that -20°C is the best storage temperature for mephedrone stability in ante-mortem and post-mortem blood samples in comparison to the other two tested temperatures (+4 and +20°C), showing higher values in both groups in samples stored with and without preservatives (p<0.0001). The comparison of Group 1 (samples coming from alive subjects) and Group 2 (post-mortem samples) highlights a better stability of mephedrone in Group 1 (p<0.001) at all tested storage conditions. Finally, the analysis of blood specimens stored with and without preservatives in both groups suggests that specimens stored with NaF/KOx maintain mephedrone stability better than those stored with EDTA (p<0.001) and those stored without preservatives (p<0.0001), therefore, we strongly recommend in order to maintain the highest mephedrone stability in blood, to store specimens at -20°C adding NaF/KOx as preservative. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.
    Forensic science international 07/2015; 256:28-37. DOI:10.1016/j.forsciint.2015.07.021 · 2.14 Impact Factor
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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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    ABSTRACT: Methoxphenidine (MXP) was one of several NMDA antagonists marketed in 2013 to replace the recently controlled compound Methoxetamine (MXE). A steep rise in user interest was recorded, despite vendor cautioning of limited user feedback. The study presented a phenomenological analysis of MXP experiences amongst recreational drug users as posted on public Internet fora. Internet searches were carried out using specific key words; "methoxphenidine," "MXP" and in combination with "experience," "report," "forum," and "trip." Seven self-reported experiences and 28 thread discussions relating sole use of MXP were analyzed using the Empirical Phenomenological Psychological method. Five themes and 61 categories emerged. MXP is marketed as a legal replacement for MXE, diphenidine, and ketamine, with a dissociative and stimulant wave outcome often lasting for days. Harm reduction tactics, awareness of prior tolerance to dissociative and optimal settings for use are discussed. Acute side-effects relate to hypertension and seizures. Chronic long-term memory loss and limb numbness is reported. Sense of empowerment occurs in the afterglow experience. Internet drug fora fuel information exchange and informed consumerism of synthetic compounds, and offer viable mechanisms for pre- and post-purchase decision making and indigenous harm reduction. Continued surveillance of synthetic market entries and user trends is warranted.
    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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    ABSTRACT: Unlabelled: Abstract Introduction: Novel Psychoactive Substances (NPSs) are often sold online as "legal" and "safer" alternatives to International Controlled Drugs (ICDs) with captivating marketing strategies. Our aim was to review and summarize such strategies in terms of the appearance of the products, the brand names, and the latest trends in the illicit online marketplaces. Methods: Scientific data were searched in PsychInfo and Pubmed databases; results were integrated with an extensive monitoring of Internet (websites, online shops, chat rooms, fora, social networks) and media sources in nine languages (English, French, Farsi, Portuguese, Arabic, Russian, Spanish, and Chinese simplified/traditional) available from secure databases of the Global Public Health Intelligence Network. Results: Evolving strategies for the online diffusion and the retail of NPSs have been identified, including discounts and periodic offers on chosen products. Advertisements and new brand names have been designed to attract customers, especially young people. An increased number of retailers have been recorded as well as new Web platforms and privacy systems. Discussion: NPSs represent an unprecedented challenge in the field of public health with social, cultural, legal, and political implications. Web monitoring activities are essential for mapping the diffusion of NPSs and for supporting innovative Web-based prevention programmes.
    Journal of psychoactive drugs 09/2014; 46(4):287-294. DOI:10.1080/02791072.2014.944291 · 1.10 Impact Factor
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