Methylone and mCPP, two new drugs of abuse?

Drugs Information and Monitoring System (DIMS), Trimbos Institute for Mental Health and Addiction, Utrecht, the Netherlands.
Addiction Biology (Impact Factor: 5.91). 01/2006; 10(4):321-3. DOI: 10.1080/13556210500350794
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Recently, two new ecstasy-like substances, methylone and mCPP, were found in street drugs in the Netherlands by the Drugs Information and Monitoring System (DIMS). Methylone (3,4-methylenedioxymethcathinone) is the main ingredient of a new liquid designer drug that appeared on the Dutch drug market, called 'Explosion'. mCPP (meta-chlorophenylpiperazine) is a substance often used as a probe for the serotonin function in psychiatric research, and has now been found in street drugs, both in tablets and powders. Methylone as well as mCPP act on monoaminergic systems, resembling MDMA (3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine), with mCPP mainly affecting the serotonin system. The subjective effects of both new substances exhibit subtle differences with those of MDMA. Only little is known about the harmfulness of both methylone and mCPP. However, because of similarities between these substances and MDMA, risks common to MDMA cannot be excluded.

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    ABSTRACT: Methylone, a new drug of abuse sold as "bath salts," has similar effects to ecstasy or cocaine. We have investigated changes in dopaminergic and serotoninergic markers, indicative of neuronal damage induced by methylone in the frontal cortex, hippocampus, and striatum of mice, according to two different treatment schedules. Methylone was given subcutaneously to male Swiss CD1 mice at an ambient temperature of 26 °C. Treatment A consisted of three doses of 25 mg/kg at 3.5-h intervals between doses for two consecutive days, and treatment B consisted of four doses of 25 mg/kg at 3-h intervals in 1 day. Repeated methylone administration induced hyperthermia and a significant loss in body weight. Following treatment A, methylone induced transient dopaminergic (frontal cortex) and serotoninergic (hippocampus) impairment. Following treatment B, transient dopaminergic (frontal cortex) and serotonergic (frontal cortex and hippocampus) changes 7 days after treatment were found. We found evidence of astrogliosis in the CA1 and the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus following treatment B. The animals also showed an increase in immobility time in the forced swim test, pointing to a depressive-like behavior. In cultured cortical neurons, methylone (for 24 and 48 h) did not induce a remarkable cytotoxic effect. The neural effects of methylone differ depending upon the treatment schedule. Neurochemical changes elicited by methylone are apparent when administered at an elevated ambient temperature, four times per day at 3-h intervals, which is in accordance with its short half-life.
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