Neuropharmacology of New Psychoactive Substances (NPS)

Volume 32 of the series Current Topics in Behavioral Neurosciences pp 313-331


Clinical Pharmacology of the Synthetic Cathinone Mephedrone

  • Esther PapaseitAffiliated withHospital Universitari Germans Trias i Pujol (IGTP)Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB)
  • , José MoltóAffiliated withHospital Universitari Germans Trias i Pujol (IGTP)Fundació Lluita contra la Sida
  • , Robert MugaAffiliated withHospital Universitari Germans Trias i Pujol (IGTP)Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB)
  • , Marta TorrensAffiliated withUniversitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB)IMIM-Hospital del Mar Medical Research InstituteInstitut de Neuropsiquiatria i Adiccions
  • , Rafael de la TorreAffiliated withIMIM-Hospital del Mar Medical Research InstituteUniversitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF)
  • , Magí FarréAffiliated withHospital Universitari Germans Trias i Pujol (IGTP)Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) Email author 

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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