Mephedrone: use, subjective effects and health risks

Addiction. 2011 Nov;106(11):1991-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1360-0443.2011.03502.x. Epub 2011 Jul 27.


Aims: To assess the patterns of use, subjective effect profile and dependence liability of mephedrone, supported by corroborative urine toxicology.

Design: Cross-sectional structured telephone interview.

Setting: UK-based drug users associated with the dance music scene.

Participants: A total of 100 mephedrone users, recruited through their involvement with the dance music scene.

Measurements: Assessment of pattern of use, acute and after effects, DSM dependence criteria and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry urinalysis.

Findings: Mephedrone consumption results in typical stimulant-related subjective effects: euphoria, increased concentration, talkativeness, urge to move, empathy, jaw clenching, reduced appetite and insomnia. Thirty per cent of the sample potentially met criteria for DSM-IV dependence and there was evidence of a strong compulsion to use the drug (47% had used the drug for 2 or more consecutive days). Self-reported recent consumption of mephedrone was confirmed by toxicological analysis in all of the 14 participants who submitted a urine sample.

Conclusion: Mephedrone has a high abuse and health risk liability, with increased tolerance, impaired control and a compulsion to use, the predominant reported dependence symptoms.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alkaloids / urine
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants / adverse effects
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants / pharmacology*
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants / urine
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Dancing
  • Designer Drugs / adverse effects
  • Designer Drugs / metabolism
  • Designer Drugs / pharmacology*
  • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
  • Female
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Methamphetamine / adverse effects
  • Methamphetamine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Methamphetamine / pharmacology
  • Methamphetamine / urine
  • Music
  • Substance Abuse Detection
  • Substance Withdrawal Syndrome / epidemiology
  • Substance-Related Disorders / diagnosis
  • Substance-Related Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / urine
  • Telephone
  • United Kingdom


  • Alkaloids
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants
  • Designer Drugs
  • Methamphetamine
  • cathinone
  • mephedrone