Skip to main content
×
×
Home

The adverse consequences of mephedrone use: a case series

  • Kirsty Mackay (a1), Mark Taylor (a1) and Neeraj Bajaj (a2)
Abstract
Aims and method

Mephedrone is a cathinone with amphetamine-like stimulant effects, and is a commonly used recreational drug. The adverse effects of mephedrone use have not been extensively studied. All individuals who self-presented between January and June 2010 to the emergency departments and acute mental health services in Edinburgh and Falkirk with adverse effects of self-reported mephedrone use were identified.

Results

Twenty cases were identified and analysed. Severe agitation was the most common presenting problem (70%), with 40% of individuals developing psychotic symptoms and a further 20% reporting low mood and suicidality. One person died by suicide.

Clinical implications

Mephedrone can produce amphetamine-like adverse psychological intoxication effects, particularly in those with a history of mental illness. Clinicians should consider advising patients on the adverse effects of mephedrone, where relevant.

  • View HTML
    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      The adverse consequences of mephedrone use: a case series
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      The adverse consequences of mephedrone use: a case series
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      The adverse consequences of mephedrone use: a case series
      Available formats
      ×
Copyright
This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Corresponding author
Mark Taylor (marktaylor2@nhs.net)
Footnotes
Hide All

Declaration of interest

None.

Footnotes
References
Hide All
1 Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs. Consideration of the Cathinones. ACMD, 2010 (http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/publications/drugs/acmd1/acmd-cathinodes-report-2010).
2 Cozzi, NV, Sievert, MK, Shulgin, AT, Jacobill, P, Ruoho, AE. Inhibition of plasma membrane monoamine transporters by beta-ketoamphetamines. Eur J Pharmacology 1999; 381: 63–9.
3 Nagai, F, Nonaka, R, Kamimura, KSH. The effects of non-medically used drugs on monoamine neurotransmission in rat brain. Eur J Pharmacology 2007; 559: 132–7.
4 Newcombe, R. Mephedrone: The Use of Mephedrone (M-cat, Meow) in Middlesbrough. Lifeline Publications, 2009.
5 Dick, D, Torrance, C. MixMag drugs survey. MixMag 2010; 225: 44e53.
6 Wood, DM, Greene, SL, Dargan, PI. Clinical pattern of toxicity associated with the novel synthetic cathinone mephedrone. Emerg Med J 2010; doi:10.1136/emj.2010.092288.
7 Warfa, N, Klein, A, Bhui, K, Leavey, G, Craig, T, Stansfeld, SA. Khat use and mental illness: a critical review. Soc Science Med 2007; 65: 309–18.
8 Curran, C, Byrappa, N, McBride, A. Stimulant psychosis: systematic review. Br J Psychiatry 2004; 185: 196204.
9 Wood, DM, Davies, S, Puchnarewicz, M, Button, J, Archer, R, Ramsey, J, et al. Recreational use of 4-methylmethcathinone (4-MMC) presenting with sympathomimetic toxicity and confirmed by toxicological screening. Clin Toxicology 2009; 47: 733.
10 Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs. Methylamphetamine Review. ACMD, 2005 (http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/publications/drugs/acmd1/ACMD-meth-report-November-2005).
11 EMCDDA, Europol. Europol–EMCDDA Joint Report on a New Psychoactive Substance: 4-Methylmethcathinone (Mephedrone). EMCDDA, Europol, 2010 (http://www.emcdda.europa.eu/attachements.cfm/att_102496_EN_Europol-EMCDDA_Joint_Report_Mephedrone).
12 Nutt, D. Mephedrone: the class D solution. Guardian 2010; 17 March (http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/mar/17/mephedrone-class-d-solution-criminalise?INTCMP=SRCH).
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

BJPsych Bulletin
  • ISSN: 1758-3209
  • EISSN: 1758-3217
  • URL: /core/journals/bjpsych-bulletin
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×
Type Description Title
PDF
Supplementary materials

Mackay et al. supplementary material
Supplementary Table S1

 PDF (27 KB)
27 KB

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed

The adverse consequences of mephedrone use: a case series

  • Kirsty Mackay (a1), Mark Taylor (a1) and Neeraj Bajaj (a2)
Submit a response

eLetters

Mephedrone a cognitive enhancer and Khat use

Karl H Marlowe, Consultant psychiatrist and honorary senior lecturer
21 July 2011

The report on the adverse effects of mephedrone in patients presenting to an acute service in Scotland made interesting reading echoing many of our own findings in attendees to a service aimed at the early detection of psychotic illness based in inner city London (1).

In a small sample we found that eight percent of patients (n=5) seeking help with concerns about their mental health were using mephedrone. They reported using the drug for recreational reasons during activities like clubbing and simply out of curiosity. Four out of the five patients stated that they used mephedrone as a cognitive and performance enhancer to aid them in their studying and to help them stay awake whilst at university of college. They explained that was as cheap and accessible alternative to other stimulants; one dose of 200mg costing from £2 to £3.

As mephedrone has now been classified as an illicit substance, it is possible that similar (currently unclassified) chemical compounds will become more widely used as cognitive enhancers in the student population. Both acute secondary and primary care mental health services should be aware of the adverse effects of this group of stimulants.

Finally, it is interesting to note that mephedrone is a semi-synthetic form of cathinone the drug found in the East African herb known as khat. The chewing of khat has a long history and continues to be legally used within several immigrant populations in Britain. Understanding the adverse effects of mephedrone has allowed us to appreciate the adverse consequences of khat abuse - a problem that has provoked substantial debate previously (2).

References:1. Mackay K, Taylor M, Bajaj N. Adverse Consequence of Mephedrone Use: A Case Series. Psychiatrist 2011; 35:203-205

2. Warfa N, KIein A, Bhui K, Leavey G, Craig T., Stanfied SA. Khat Use and Mental Illness: A Critical Review. Social Science Med. Soc. 2007; 65: 309-18
... More

Conflict of interest: None Declared

Write a reply

×

Reply to: Submit a response


Your details


Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *