Bath salts and polyconsumption: in search of drug-drug interactions
Background and rationale
Polydrug use is a widespread phenomenon, especially among adolescents and young adults. Synthetic cathinones are frequently consumed in combination with other drugs of abuse. However, there is very little information regarding the consequences of this specific consumption pattern.
The aim of this review is to introduce this topic and highlight the gaps in the existing literature. In three different sections, we focus on specific interactions of synthetic cathinones with alcohol, cannabinoids, and the stimulants nicotine and cocaine. We then dedicate a section to the existence of sex and gender differences in the effects of synthetic cathinones and the long-term psychophysiological consequences of adolescent and prenatal exposure to these drugs.
Epidemiological studies, case reports, and results obtained in animal models point to the existence of pharmacological and pharmacokinetic interactions between synthetic cathinones and other drugs of abuse. This pattern of polyconsumption can cause the potentiation of negative effects, and the dissociation between objective and subjective effects can increase the combined use of the drugs and the risk of toxicity leading to serious health problems. Certain animal studies indicate a higher vulnerability and effect of cathinones in females. In humans, most of the users are men and case reports show long-term psychotic symptoms after repeated use.
The co-use of synthetic cathinones and the other drugs of abuse analyzed indicates potentiation of diverse effects including dependence and addiction, neurotoxicity, and impaired cognition and emotional responses. The motivations for and effects of synthetic cathinone use appear to be influenced by sex/gender. The long-term consequences of their use by adolescents and pregnant women deserve further investigation.
KeywordsBath salts Polyconsumption Drug interactions Novel psychoactive substances
Central nervous system
Conditional place preference
C-X-C Motif Chemokine Ligand 12
Environmental place conditioning
Functional magnetic resonance imaging
Medial prefrontal cortex
Nicotinic acetylcholine receptor
Novel psychoactive substances
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.
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