New psychoactive substances continue to appear on the drug market, and alpha-pyrrolidinoisohexanophenone (α-PiHP) is one of the most popular cathinone derivatives. In this article, a case of death caused by α-PiHP is reported. Read more
According to the EU Early Warning System (EWS), synthetic cathinones (SCs) are the second largest new psychoactive substances (NPS) class, with 162 synthetic cathinones monitored by the EU EWS. They have a similar structure to cathinone, principally found in Catha Edulis; they have a phenethylamine related structure but also exhibit amphetamine-like stimulant effects. Illegal laboratories regularly develop new substances and place them on the market. For this reason, during the last decade this class of substances has presented a great challenge for public health and forensic toxicologists.
Acting on different systems and with various mechanisms of action, the spectrum of side effects caused by the intake of these drugs of abuse is very broad. To date, most studies have focused on the substances’ cardiac effects, and very few on their associated neurotoxicity.
Specifically, synthetic cathinones appear to be involved in different neurological events, including increased alertness, mild agitation, severe psychosis, hyperthermia and death. A systematic literature search in PubMed and Scopus databases according to PRISMA guidelines was performed. A total of 515 studies published from 2005 to 2022 (350 articles from PubMed and 165 from Scopus) were initially screened for eligibility. The papers excluded, according to the criteria described in the Method Section (n = 401) and after full text analyses (n = 82), were 483 in total. The remaining 76 were included in the present review, as they met fully the inclusion criteria.
The present work provides a comprehensive review on neurotoxic mechanisms of synthetic cathinones highlighting intoxication cases and fatalities in humans, as well as the toxic effects on animals (in particular rats, mice and zebrafish larvae). The reviewed studies showed brain-related adverse effects, including encephalopathy, coma and convulsions, and sympathomimetic and hallucinogenic toxidromes, together with the risk of developing excited/agitated delirium syndrome and serotonin syndrome.
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Synthetic cathinones are a heterogenous group of new psychoactive substances (NPS) with a surging prevalence of use. They are sold under the name of “Bath Salts,” “Legal Highs” or “Research Chemical.” It is a heterogeneous group of substances that have a varying binding selectivity and affinity. Due to limited availability of NPS screening tests, inadequate legislation, the exponential increases in availability of new NPS and the comorbid use of other illicit substances, scientific research remains scarce. As a result, insight in their mental and psychomotor effects is limited. Read more
The emergence of novel psychoactive substances (NPS) has been being a continuous and evolving problem for more than a decade. Every year, dozens of new, previously unknown drugs appear on the illegal market, posing a significant threat to the health and lives of their users. Synthetic cathinones are one of the most numerous and widespread groups among NPS. The purpose of this work was to identify and summarize available data on newly emerging cathinones in very recent years. Read more
As part of an increasing worldwide use of designer drugs, recent use of compounds containing cathinones and synthetic cannabinoids is especially prevalent. Here, we reviewed current literature on the prevalence, epidemiology, bio-behavioral effects, and detection of these compounds. Gender differences and clinical effects will also be examined. Read more
In recent years, the observed frequency of hospitalization of patients taking mephedrone with other psychoactive substances has increased. There are no data in the literature on the effect of mephedrone use on liver function in patients, including the frequency of HCV infection. We have analysed the impact of taking mephedrone together with other psychoactive substances on the incidence of HCV infection. We have also analysed the effect of taking mephedrone with heroin, alcohol, and benzodiazepines on liver enzyme levels. Read more
Assessing the abuse potential of new substances with central nervous system activity is essential for preventing possible risks of misuse and addiction. The same methodology is recommended for the evaluation of the abuse potential of recreational drugs. This systematic review aims to assess the pharmacological effects related to the abuse potential and pharmacokinetics of cathinones, which are evaluated in both experimental and prospective observational studies in humans. Read more
Cathinone is a plant alkaloid found in khat leaves of perennial shrubs grown in East Africa. Similar to cocaine, cathinone elicits psychostimulant effects which are in part attributed to its amphetamine-like structure. Around 2010, home laboratories began altering the parent structure of cathinone to synthesize derivatives with mechanisms of action, potencies, and pharmacokinetics permitting high abuse potential and toxicity. Read more
You can download the brochure of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (USA) at THIS LINK.