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Eur J Pharmacol. 1999 Jul 21;377(2-3):167-73.

Distinct features of seizures induced by cocaine and amphetamine analogs.

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Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Utah, Salt Lake City 84112, USA.


Seizure-related emergencies caused by stimulants of abuse have been increasing. To better understand the nature of these drug-induced convulsions, we characterized the seizure patterns associated with high doses of cocaine, and the amphetamine analogs, methamphetamine, methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) and 4-methylaminorex. The features of the stimulant-induced seizures were distinct and included the following: (1) the duration of convulsive activity was shortest for cocaine and longest for methamphetamine, (2) only MDMA produced a secondary clonic phase after the initial ictal event, and (3) 4-methylaminorex manifested a very steep dose-response curve. Differential preventive profiles of anticonvulsant agents on the stimulant-induced seizures also were observed. For example, cocaine-related seizures were most effectively prevented by, while methamphetamine-induced seizures were completely refractory to, phenytoin pretreatment. The only anticonvulsants which appeared to influence methamphetamine-related convulsions were diazepam and valproate. A unique feature of 4-methylaminorex was that related seizures were almost completely blocked by the calcium channel blocker, flunarizine.

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