Human pharmacology of mephedrone in comparison with MDMA

This randomized, double-blind, crossover, placebo-controlled study (n=12) compared the effects of MDMA (100mg) and mephedrone (200mg) with respect to the physiological, subjective, psychomotor, and pharmacokinetic parameters amongst healthy male volunteers. Mephedrone induced stimulant-like effects, which included enhanced euphoria, well-being, feelings of pleasure, and mild changes in perceptions, as well as sympathomimetic effects (hypertension, tachycardia, and mydriasis), but with a faster, less intense, and shorter duration compared to MDMA.


“Mephedrone (4-methylmethcathinone) is a novel psychoactive substance popular among drug users because it displays similar effects to MDMA (3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine, ecstasy). Mephedrone consumption has been associated with undesirable effects and fatal intoxications. At present, there is no research available on its pharmacological effects in humans under controlled and experimental administration. This study aims to evaluate the clinical pharmacology of mephedrone and its relative abuse liability compared with MDMA. Twelve male volunteers participated in a randomized, double-blind, crossover, and placebo-controlled trial. The single oral dose conditions were: mephedrone 200 mg, MDMA 100 mg, and placebo. Outcome variables included physiological, subjective, and psychomotor effects, and pharmacokinetic parameters. The protocol was registered in (NCT02232789). Mephedrone produced a significant increase in systolic and diastolic blood pressure, heart rate, and pupillary diameter. It elicited stimulant-like effects, euphoria, and well-being, and induced mild changes in perceptions with similar ratings to those observed after MDMA administration although effects peaked earlier and were shorter in duration. Maximal plasma concentration values for mephedrone and MDMA peaked at 1.25 h and 2.00 h, respectively. The elimination half-life for mephedrone was 2.15 h and 7.89 h for MDMA. In a similar manner to MDMA, mephedrone exhibits high abuse liability. Its earlier onset and shorter duration of effects, probably related to its short elimination half-life, could explain a more compulsive pattern of use as described by the users.”

Authors: Esther Papaseit, Clara Pérez-Mañá, Julián-Andrés Mateus, Mitona Pujadas, Francina Fonseca, Marta Torrens, Eulàlia Olesti, Rafael De La Torre & Magí Farré

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Human pharmacology of mephedrone in comparison with MDMA

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Published in
May 20, 2016
76 citations

Study details

Compounds studied

Topics studied
Safety Healthy Subjects

Study characteristics
Placebo-Controlled Double-Blind Within-Subject Randomized


Compound Details

The psychedelics given at which dose and how many times

MDMA 100 mg | 1x
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