Clinical Pharmacology of the Synthetic Cathinone Mephedrone

  • Esther Papaseit
  • José Moltó
  • Robert Muga
  • Marta Torrens
  • Rafael de la Torre
  • Magí FarréEmail author
Part of the Current Topics in Behavioral Neurosciences book series (CTBN, volume 32)


4-Methyl-N-methylcathinone (mephedrone) is a popular new psychoactive substance (NPS) that is structurally related to the parent compound cathinone, the β-keto analogue of amphetamine. Mephedrone appeared on the street drug market as a substitute for 3,4-methylenedioxy-N-methylamphetamine (MDMA, ecstasy) and was subsequently banned due to the potential health risks associated with its use. Nevertheless, mephedrone continues to be widely consumed among specific populations, with unique patterns of misuse. To date, most information about the biological effects of mephedrone comes from user experiences, epidemiological data, clinical cases, toxicological findings, and animal studies, whilst there are very few data regarding its human pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics. This chapter reviews the available published data on patterns of mephedrone use, its acute and chronic effects, and its pharmacokinetic properties. More human research is needed to elucidate the safety, toxicity, and addiction potential of mephedrone and related NPS.


3,4-Methylenedioxy-N-methylamphetamine (MDMA ecstasy) 4-Methyl-N-methylcathinone (4-MMC mephedrone) New psychoactive substance (NSP) Synthetic cathinones 



This work was supported in part by grants from Instituto de Salud Carlos III (ISCIII, FIS-FEDER PI11/01961; Red de Trastornos Adictivos-RTA-FEDER RD16/0017/0003 and RD16/0017/0010; Juan Rodes fellowship JR16/00020) and The European Commission (Drugs Policy Initiatives, Justice Programme 2014–2020, Contract no. HOME/2014/JDRU/AG/DRUG/7082, PREDICT Project).


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Authors and Affiliations

  • Esther Papaseit
    • 1
    • 2
  • José Moltó
    • 1
    • 3
  • Robert Muga
    • 1
    • 2
  • Marta Torrens
    • 2
    • 4
    • 5
  • Rafael de la Torre
    • 4
    • 6
  • Magí Farré
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Hospital Universitari Germans Trias i Pujol (IGTP)BadalonaSpain
  2. 2.Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB)Cerdanyola del VallésSpain
  3. 3.Fundació Lluita contra la SidaBadalonaSpain
  4. 4.IMIM-Hospital del Mar Medical Research InstituteBarcelonaSpain
  5. 5.Institut de Neuropsiquiatria i AdiccionsBarcelonaSpain
  6. 6.Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF)BarcelonaSpain

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