Piperazine compounds as drugs of abuse

Drug Alcohol Depend. 2012 May 1;122(3):174-85. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2011.10.007. Epub 2011 Nov 8.


Synthetic drugs are among the most commonly abused drugs in the world. This abuse is widespread among young people, especially in the dance club and rave scenes. Over the last several years, piperazine derived drugs have appeared, mainly available via the internet, and sold as ecstasy pills or under the names of "Frenzy", "Bliss", "Charge", "Herbal ecstasy", "A2", "Legal X" and "Legal E". Although in the market piperazine designer drugs have the reputation of being safe, several experimental and epidemiological studies indicate risks for humans. Piperazine designer drugs can be divided into two classes, the benzylpiperazines such as N-benzylpiperazine (BZP) and its methylenedioxy analogue 1-(3,4-methylenedioxybenzyl)piperazine (MDBP), and the phenylpiperazines such as 1-(3-chlorophenyl)piperazine (mCPP), 1-(3-trifluoromethylphenyl)piperazine (TFMPP), and 1-(4-methoxyphenyl)piperazine (MeOPP). Toxicokinetic properties, including metabolic pathways, actions and effects in animals and humans, with some hypothesis of mechanism of action, and analytical approaches for the identification of these drugs are summarized in this review.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Clinical Trials as Topic / methods
  • Designer Drugs / chemistry*
  • Designer Drugs / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Illicit Drugs / chemistry*
  • Illicit Drugs / metabolism
  • N-Methyl-3,4-methylenedioxyamphetamine / chemistry*
  • N-Methyl-3,4-methylenedioxyamphetamine / metabolism
  • Piperazines / chemistry*
  • Piperazines / metabolism


  • Designer Drugs
  • Illicit Drugs
  • Piperazines
  • N-Methyl-3,4-methylenedioxyamphetamine