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amphetamine mixtures [keywords]
- Application of direct-infusion ESI-MS/MS for toxicological screening. [Journal Article]
- Bioanalysis 2014 Aug; 6(15):2043-55.
Direct-infusion ESI-MS/MS is a powerful approach for the identification of substances in complex mixtures. The aim of this work was to investigate its applicability to the toxicological screening of blood samples. A simple protein precipitation was used, followed by a 15 min infusion of the extract in the mass spectrometer.The application of the procedure to commercial quality controls and authentic post-mortem blood samples demonstrated that the direct-infusion ESI-MS/MS approach enables the simultaneous identification of substances that require different chromatographic conditions. However, poor sensitivity was observed for benzodiazepine, amphetamines and opiate compounds.Considering the facile implementation and positive performance of direct-infusion ESI-MS/MS, this approach may to be a valuable complementary technique for systematic toxicological analysis procedures.
- Chiral Separation of Cathinone and Amphetamine Derivatives by HPLC/UV Using Sulfated β-Cyclodextrin as Chiral Mobile Phase Additive. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Chirality 2014 Jun 9.
In the last years the identification of new legal and illegal highs has become a huge challenge for the police and prosecution authorities. In an analytical context, only a few analytical methods are available to identify these new substances. Moreover, many of these recreational drugs are chiral and it is supposed that the enantiomers differ in their pharmacological potency. Since nonenantioselective synthesis is easier and cheaper, they are mainly sold as racemic mixtures. The goal of this research work was to develop an inexpensive method for the chiral separation of cathinones and amphetamines. This should help to discover if the substances are sold as racemic mixtures and give further information about their quality as well as their origin. Chiral separation of a set of 6 amphetamine and 25 cathinone derivatives, mainly purchased from various Internet shops, is presented. A LiChrospher 100 RP-18e, 250 x 4 mm, 5 µm served as the stationary phase. The chiral mobile phase consisted of methanol, water, and sulfated β-cyclodextrin. Measurements were performed under isocratic conditions in reversed phase mode using UV detection. Four model compounds of the two substance classes were used to optimize the mobile phase. Under final conditions (methanol:water 2.5:97.5 + 2% sulfated β-cyclodextrin) enantiomers of amphetamine and five derivatives were baseline separated within 23 min. In all, 17 cathinones were completely or partially chirally separated. However, as only 3 of 25 cathinones were baseline resolved, the application of this method is limited for cathinone analogs. Additionally, the results were compared with an RP-8e column. Chirality 00:000-000, 2014. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
- Raising awareness of new psychoactive substances: chemical analysis and in vitro toxicity screening of 'legal high' packages containing synthetic cathinones. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Arch Toxicol 2014 Jun 6.
The world's status quo on recreational drugs has dramatically changed in recent years due to the rapid emergence of new psychoactive substances (NPS), represented by new narcotic or psychotropic drugs, in pure form or in preparation, which are not controlled by international conventions, but that may pose a public health threat comparable with that posed by substances listed in these conventions. These NPS, also known as 'legal highs' or 'smart drugs', are typically sold via Internet or 'smartshops' as legal alternatives to controlled substances, being announced as 'bath salts' and 'plant feeders' and is often sought after for consumption especially among young people. Although NPS have the biased reputation of being safe, the vast majority has hitherto not been tested and several fatal cases have been reported, namely for synthetic cathinones, with pathological patterns comparable with amphetamines. Additionally, the unprecedented speed of appearance and distribution of the NPS worldwide brings technical difficulties in the development of analytical procedures and risk assessment in real time. In this study, 27 products commercialized as 'plant feeders' were chemically characterized by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. It was also evaluated, for the first time, the in vitro hepatotoxic effects of individual synthetic cathinones, namely methylone, pentedrone, 4-methylethcathinone (4-MEC) and 3,4-methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV). Two commercial mixtures ('Bloom' and 'Blow') containing mainly cathinone derivatives were also tested, and 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) was used as the reference drug. The study allowed the identification of 19 compounds, showing that synthetic cathinones are the main active compounds present in these products. Qualitative and quantitative variability was found in products sold with the same trade name in matching or different 'smartshops'. In the toxicity studies performed in primary cultured rat hepatocytes, pentedrone and MDPV proved to be the most potent individual agents, with EC50 values of 0.664 and 0.742 mM, respectively, followed by MDMA (EC50 = 0.754 mM). 4-MEC and methylone were the least potent substances, with EC50 values significantly higher (1.29 and 1.18 mM, respectively; p < 0.05 vs. MDMA). 'Bloom' and 'Blow' showed hepatotoxic effects similar to MDMA (EC50 = 0.788 and 0.870 mM, respectively), with cathinones present in these mixtures contributing additively to the overall toxicological effect. Our results show a miscellany of psychoactive compounds present in 'legal high' products with evident hepatotoxic effects. These data contribute to increase the awareness on the real composition of 'legal high' packages and unveil the health risks posed by NPS.
- Analysis of amphetamine-type substances and piperazine analogues using desorption electrospray ionisation mass spectrometry. [Journal Article, Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't]
- Rapid Commun Mass Spectrom 2014 Apr 15; 28(7):731-40.
Although amphetamine-type substances (ATS) have been investigated extensively in recent years, scarce data is available on screening tests for piperazine analogues. The need for a universal technique capable of detecting an extensive range of drug compounds becomes increasingly important with the continued emergence of novel drug analogues.Desorption electrospray ionisation mass spectrometry (DESI-MS) is a technique that allows examination of compounds in drug materials directly from ambient surfaces. In this study, DESI-MS was utilised in the analysis of ATS including amphetamine (AP), methylamphetamine (MA), 3,4-methylenedioxymethylamphetamine (MDMA), N,N-dimethylamphetamine (DMA), 4-methoxyamphetamine (PMA) and 4-methoxymethylamphetamine (PMMA), and piperazine analogues including 1-benzylpiperazine (BZP), 1-[3-(trifluoromethyl)phenyl]piperazine (TFMPP), 1-(3-chlorophenyl)piperazine (mCPP) and 1-(4-methoxyphenyl)piperazine (MeOPP). Semi-porous polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE or Teflon) sheets welled with a 3 mm hole punch were used to contain the 2 μL liquid sample (spot size 7 mm(2) ).The limits of detection (LODs) of these compounds using DESI-MS were determined to be in the range 0.02-2.80 µg/mm(2) . The intra-day and inter-day precision of the technique were <25% and <33%, respectively. DESI-MS was successful in determining the compound of interest and reaction by-products and impurities in the samples tested (such as 1,4-dibenzylpiperazine in BZP samples) with the exception of those present in trace amounts. The effects of common adulterants on the detectability of MA were evaluated. The addition of magnesium stearate to MA significantly enhanced the signal response.This work has demonstrated the applicability of DESI-MS in the screening and profiling of MDMA, PMMA, BZP, TFMPP, mCPP, MeOPP as well as other complex mixtures.
- ["Legal highs" from the German internet--"bath salt drugs" on the rise]. [English Abstract, Journal Article]
- Arch Kriminol 2013 Sep-Oct; 232(3-4):91-103.
The appearance of dangerous and insufficiently studied designer drugs has increased substantially within the last few years. Mixtures containing centrally active compounds are often declared as "bath salt", "incense", "plant food", "bong cleaners" and are marketed in head shops and on the Internet. As the majority of the ingredients of such products are not subject to regulations of the German Narcotics Law (Betäubungsmittelgesetz, BtMG), the vendors and consumers mistake the sale of such products for legal. An alternative possibility to prosecute the distribution of so-called "legal highs" arises from the regulations of the German Medicinal Products Act (Arzneimittelgesetz, AMG). Indicating a private address, several products were purchased via the Internet. The products were analyzed by gas chromatography- mass spectrometry using computer-assisted database search and potential hits were checked for plausibility. The analysis of 100 samples revealed centrally acting compounds (including caffeine) in 98 % (75 % of all samples positive for caffeine). In 16 % of the samples, drugs subject to the BtMG at the time of purchase (end of 2011) were found including 2,5-dimethoxy-4-methylamphetamine, amphetamine, etilamphetamine, N-benzylpiperazine, mephedrone, methcathinone, and phenobarbital. In 55 % of the samples, drugs subject to the current BtMG were found (after its amendment on 20 July 2012). In 37 % of the samples, substances subject to the AMG were found (e.g. ephedrine). In 35 % of the samples, drugs with a potential psychotropic effect were found. In 57.3 % of the positive samples, more than one active ingredient was determined and in some cases up to five active components were found. Other interesting pharmacologically active ingredients found were 4-methylcathinone (n=13), flephedrone (n=8), trifluoromethylphenyl-piperazine (n=7), methylone (n=5), butylone (n=2), hordenine (n=2), and harmane (n=2). Most of the substances not covered by the BtMG can be classified as "unsafe" drugs. The distribution of unsafe drugs is illegal in Germany. However, the easy availability of real or potential drugs has to be seen critically. Little is known about the toxicological and pharmacological effects of those single substances, let alone of interactions in mixtures of such substances. In chat rooms, users advertise such drugs and blaze abroad their own experiences.
- Combination effects of amphetamines under hyperthermia - the role played by oxidative stress. [Journal Article]
- J Appl Toxicol 2014 Jun; 34(6):637-50.
Rise in body temperature is a life-threatening consequence of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA, ecstasy) abuse. We evaluated the impact of hyperthermia on the cytotoxicity of combinations of MDMA and three other amphetamines, often co-ingested. For this, Hep G2 cells were exposed to MDMA, d-amphetamine, methamphetamine and 4-methylthioamphetamine, individually or combined, at 40.5 °C. The results were compared with normothermia data (37.0 °C). Mixture additivity expectations were calculated by independent action and concentration addition (CA) models. To delineate the mechanism(s) underlying the elicited effects, a range of stress endpoints was evaluated, including quantification of reactive oxygen/nitrogen species (ROS/RNS), lipid peroxidation, reduced/oxidized glutathione (GSH/GSSG), ATP and mitochondrial membrane potential (Δψm) changes. Our data show that, in hyperthermia, amphetamines acted additively and mixture effects were accurately predicted by CA. At 40.5 °C, even slight increases in the concentrations of each drug/mixture promoted significant rises in cytotoxicity, which quickly shifted from roughly undetectable to maximal mortality. Additionally, the increase of RNS/ROS production, decrease of GSH, ATP depletion and mitochondrial impairment were exacerbated under hyperthermia. Importantly, when equieffective cytotoxic concentrations of the mixture and individual amphetamines were compared for all tested stress endpoints, mixture effects did not deviate from those elicited by individual treatments, suggesting that these amphetamines have a similar mode of action, which is not altered in combination. Concluding, our data indicate that amphetamine mixtures produce deleterious effects, even when individual drugs are combined at negligible concentrations. These effects are strongly exacerbated in hyperthermia, emphasizing the potential increased risks of ecstasy intake, especially when hyperthermia occurs concurrently with polydrug abuse. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
- Cytotoxic effects of amphetamine mixtures in primary hepatocytes are severely aggravated under hyperthermic conditions. [Journal Article, Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't]
- Toxicol In Vitro 2013 Sep; 27(6):1670-8.
Amphetamine consumers are often, deliberately or not, polydrug abusers. Predicting combination effects based on concentration-response analysis of individual components is a valid strategy for accurate toxicological assessment of mixtures. We previously reported that joint effects of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA, ecstasy) and three other often co-ingested amphetamines (methamphetamine, 4-methylthyoamphetamine and D-amphetamine) could be predicted by the concentration addition (CA) model in HepG2 cells. We sought to further evaluate the relevance of these findings by extending these studies to a cell model that more closely mimics the in vivo situation. Detailed cytotoxic information of the four individual amphetamines on primary rat hepatocytes was recorded by the MTT assay, at 37°C and 40.5°C, simulating the rise in body temperature that could be induced following amphetamine intake. Mixture expectations were calculated using CA and independent action (IA) models. At 37°C, concentration-dependent cytotoxicity occurred for the drugs individually and combined. Mixture effects were accurately predicted by the CA model, while the IA model underestimated cytotoxicity. At 40.5°C these cytotoxic effects were aggravated. Our findings provide evidence of the increased risks associated with the abuse of amphetamine mixtures, especially during hyperthermia, emphasising the need to increase awareness of misinformed users who believe these drugs are safe.
- Cardiac infection and sepsis in 3 intravenous bath salts drug users. [Case Reports, Journal Article]
- Clin Infect Dis 2013 Jun; 56(11):e102-4.
The street drug "bath salts" are psychoactive mixtures of cathinone derivatives. We report 3 cases of disseminated Staphylococcus aureus infection with cardiac involvement (2 endocarditis and 1 pericarditis), secondary to intravenous bath salts use.
- Additive inhibition of human α1β2γ2 GABAA receptors by mixtures of commonly used drugs of abuse. [Journal Article, Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't]
- Neurotoxicology 2013 Mar.:23-9.
Yearly, exposure to drugs of abuse results in ∼1 million emergency department visits in the US. In ∼50% of the visits, stimulant drugs like cocaine and amphetamine-like substances (e.g. 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA, the main active ingredient of ecstasy)) are involved, whereas in ∼60% multiple drugs are involved. These drugs induce higher dopamine and serotonin levels resulting in drug-induced toxicity. Since GABA receptors (GABA-R) provide the main inhibitory input on dopaminergic and serotonergic neurons, drug-induced inhibition of GABA-R could contribute to higher neurotransmitter levels and thus toxicity. We therefore investigated the effects of combinations of commonly abused stimulant drugs (cocaine, MDMA, 3,4-methylenedioxyamphetamine (MDA) and meta-chlorophenylpiperazine (mCPP)) on the function of the human α1β2γ2 GABAA receptor (hGABAA-R), expressed in Xenopus oocytes, using the two-electrode voltage-clamp technique. These drugs concentration-dependently inhibited the GABA-evoked current (mCPP>cocaine>MDMA>MDA). Most drug combinations decreased the GABA-evoked current stronger than the single drug. Additivity was observed during combined exposure to low concentrations of cocaine and mCPP as well as during combined exposure to MDA with cocaine or mCPP. However, combinations containing MDMA mainly resulted in sub-additivity or no additivity. At drug concentrations relevant for clinical toxicology, co-exposure to ≥2 drugs can decrease the GABA-evoked current in an additive manner. Thus, in patients exposed to multiple drugs, inhibitory GABA-ergic input is reduced more prominently, likely resulting in higher brain dopamine levels. As this will increase the risk for drug-induced toxicity, treatment of drug-intoxicated patients with drugs that enhance GABA-ergic input should be further optimized.
- Concentration ratios of methamphetamine to amphetamine in blood can help to distinguish use of methamphetamine from various mixtures of the two stimulants. [Journal Article]
- J Anal Toxicol 2012 Nov-Dec; 36(9):634-7.
Using a forensic toxicology database, the authors investigated cases of driving under the influence of drugs (DUID) if methamphetamine (MA) was identified in the blood samples (N = 9,310). The concentrations of MA and amphetamine (AM) in blood were determined after liquid-liquid extraction by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry at limits of quantitation of 0.03 mg/L for both stimulants. In 814 cases, AM was negative in blood and MA was positive at mean (median) and highest concentrations of 0.19 mg/L (0.11 mg/L) and 3.4 mg/L, respectively. Both amines were present in blood in 8,496 cases at concentrations of 0.54 mg/L (0.35 mg/L) and 10.4 mg/L for AM and 0.41 mg/L (0.22 mg/L) and 5.6 mg/L for MA. However, the correlation between AM and MA was low and insignificant (r = -0.13) in the whole material. The coefficient of correlation increased to r = 0.41 (P < 0.001) when the MA/AM concentration ratio was >1. When MA/AM ratios were selected at intervals of 1.0 (e.g., >3.0 and <4.0 up to >9.0 and <10.0), the correlation between AM and MA was r = 0.99 (P < 0.001). Such cases represent the use of MA without contamination from AM, and the mean (median) and highest concentrations of this secondary amine in blood of DUID suspects were 0.72 mg/L (0.56 mg/L) and 4.2 mg/L, respectively.