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2020 May 01

Int J Legal Med

Methiopropamine and its acute behavioral effects in mice: is there a gray zone in new psychoactive substances users?


De-Giorgio F, Bilel S, Tirri M, Arfè R, Trapella C, Camuto C, Foti F, Frisoni P, Neri M, Botrè F, Marti M
Int J Legal Med. 2020 May 01.
PMID: 32356113.


Methiopropamine is a structural analog of methamphetamine that is categorized as a novel psychoactive substance. It primarily acts as a norepinephrine-dopamine reuptake inhibitor and, secondarily, as a serotonin reuptake inhibitor. In humans, methiopropamine induces stimulation and alertness and increases focus and energy. However, significant side effects are reported, such as tachycardia, anxiety, panic attacks, perspiration, headache, and difficulty in breathing. To date, little data is available regarding its pharmacodynamic effects, thereby we aimed to investigate the acute in vivo effects induced by this drug on sensorimotor responses, body temperature, pain thresholds, motor activity, and cardiovascular and respiratory systems in CD-1 male mice. We selected a range of doses that correspond to the whole range of human reported use, in order to evaluate the threshold of adverse effects presentation. This study demonstrates that methiopropamine acts as a dopaminergic and noradrenergic stimulating drug and that the highest doses (10-30 mg/kg) impair the visual placing response, facilitate the acoustic and tactile response, induce hypothermia, increase mechanical and thermal analgesia, stimulate locomotor activity, induce motor stereotypies, and strongly affected cardiovascular and respiratory parameters, increasing heart rate, breath rate, and blood pressure but reducing oxygen saturation. On the contrary, lower doses do not show any of those effects. We hypothesize that there is a range of doses that do enhance performance but do not seem hazardous to users: this gap could induce the perception of safety and increase the abuser population.