Synthetic cathinones: Chemistry, pharmacology and toxicology of a new class of designer drugs of abuse marketed as "bath salts" or "plant food"

Department of Addiction, ASL CN2, Viale Coppino 46, 12051 Alba-CN, Italy.
Toxicology Letters (Impact Factor: 3.26). 03/2012; 211(2):144-9. DOI: 10.1016/j.toxlet.2012.03.009
Source: PubMed


In 2000s, many synthetic cathinones have received a renewed popularity as designer drugs of abuse, particularly among young people. Despite being marketed as "bath salts" or "plant food" and labeled "not for human consumption", people utilize these substances for their amphetamine or cocaine like effects. Since the time of their appearance in the recreational drug market, in several countries have been signaled numerous confirmed cases of abuse, dependence, severe intoxication and deaths related to the consumption of synthetic cathinones. The aim of this paper is to summarize the clinical, pharmacological and toxicological information about this new class of designer drugs of abuse.

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    • "Leurs effets s'exercent par une inhibition de la recapture de la dopamine, de la sérotonine et de norépinéphrine au sein du système nerveux central [2] [20] [21]. Concernant leur métabolisme, les cathinones de synthèse subissent une Ndéméthylation , une réduction de la fonction cétone en groupement hydroxyle et une oxydation du noyau alkyle [14]. Le début et la durée des effets des dérivés de la cathinone varient en fonction des molécules. "
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    ABSTRACT: The emergence of new psychoactive drugs is due to the supposed similar effects from ‘copied’ substances and also, in particular cases, to a legal alternative of controlled substances. This first paper deals with cathinones and synthetic cathinones. Different topics as structural properties, pharmacokinetics, modes of consumption, identification and quantification methods as well as legislation issues will be discussed. The scientific literature is reviewed until March 2013, resulting in a summary of the reported effects related to the use of those substances. In conclusion, risks involved by the use of synthetic cathinones are not yet well established. New synthetic cathinones launched on the market represent a potential public health problem and force the scientists to continually develop new sensitive analytical methods to assure their identification and quantification.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2014
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    • "Reported indicators of acute toxicity include psychomotor agitation, motor automatisms , tachycardia, Parkinsonism, tremors; hypertension, chest pain, hyperthermia, mydriasis, delusions, paranoid psychosis, dizziness, depression, rhabdomyolysis, convulsion , panic attacks, abdominal pain, hyponatremia, vomiting , cerebral edema, and seizures, with chronic effects including changes in cognition and emotional stability, S–T segment changes, nephrotoxicity, and monoamine dysfunction (Bajaj, Mullen & Wylie 2010; Mackay, Taylor & Bajaj 2011; Urban et al. 2011; Omer & Doherty 2011; James et al. 2011; Kasick et al. 2012; Spiller et al. 2011; Regan et al. 2011; Van Hout & Bingham 2012). Severe cases of acute toxicity and fatalities have been reported (Maskell et al. 2001; Gustavsson & Escher 2009; Torrance & Cooper 2010; Wood et al. 2010a; 2010b; Lusthof et al. 2011; Wong & Holt 2011; Wood et al. 2011), but in many cases the presence of multiple drugs of abuse contributed to greater monoamine toxicity (Maskell et al. 2011; Coppola & Mondola 2012; Aromatario et al. 2012; Schifano et al. 2012; Prosser & Nelson 2012). Bizarre at-risk behaviors, such as hangings, stabbings, and self-mutilation, have also been reported amongst synthetic cathinone users (Schifano et al. 2012; Marinetti & Antonides 2013). "
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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.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2014 · Journal of psychoactive drugs
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    • "Aside from the classic drugs of abuse, new psychoactive substances play a big role. The cathinones including beta-keto amphetamines (methylone , butylone, ethylone), methcathinone and mephedrone as well as the piperizines [such as benzylpiperazine (BZP), 1-(3-chloro- phenyl) piperazine (mCPP) and 1-(3-trifluoromethylphenyl) piperazine (TFMPP)] are often sold via internet under the guise of bath salts or plant food [38] [39]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Hair analysis of drugs of abuse has been a subject of growing interest from a clinical, social and forensic perspective for years because of the broad time detection window after intake in comparison to urine and blood analysis. Over the last few years, hair analysis has gained increasing attention and recognition for the retrospective investigation of drug abuse in a wide variety of contexts, shown by the large number of applications developed. This review aims to provide an overview of the state of the art and the latest trends used in the literature from 2005 to the present in the analysis of drugs of abuse in hair, with a special focus on separation analytical techniques and their hyphenation with mass spectrometry detection. The most recently introduced sample preparation techniques are also addressed in this paper. The main strengths and weaknesses of all of these approaches are critically discussed by means of relevant applications. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2014 · Analytica Chimica Acta
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