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Toxicol Lett. 2014 Sep 2;229(2):349-56. doi: 10.1016/j.toxlet.2014.06.020. Epub 2014 Jun 25.

Synthetic cathinones: "a khat and mouse game".

Author information

1
Department of Drug Discovery and Development, Auburn University, Auburn, AL 36830, USA.
2
Department of Drug Discovery and Development, Auburn University, Auburn, AL 36830, USA. Electronic address: dhanamu@auburn.edu.

Abstract

The birth of the twenty first century has provoked a substantial rise in the use of designer drugs, such as synthetic cathinones, because of a decrease in the availability and purity of other drugs of abuse. The khat plant or Catha edulis, contains cathinone, the parent compound. Synthetic cathinones are sold under the name "bath salts" as a ploy to circumvent legislation from banning their use. Constant modification of the chemical structure by covert laboratories allows manufacturers to stay one step ahead of the legal process. Currently, the widespread distribution of "bath salts" has negative consequences for law enforcement officials and public health resources. Comparable mechanisms of action, between the synthetic cathinones and amphetamine, cocaine, and MDMA are attributed to the similarities in their chemical structures. Synthetic cathinone's potent stimulatory effects, coupled with their high abuse potential, and propensity for addiction demands additional pharmacological and toxicological evaluations for these existing and new designer drugs of abuse. If these drugs are designed carefully, they might also have a significant therapeutic value.

KEYWORDS:

Addiction; Bath salts; Designer drug; MDPV; Stimulant; Synthetic cathinone

PMID:
24973490
DOI:
10.1016/j.toxlet.2014.06.020
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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