Designer drugs: a medicinal chemistry perspective

Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2012 Feb;1248:18-38. doi: 10.1111/j.1749-6632.2011.06199.x. Epub 2011 Nov 17.

Abstract

There are numerous medicinal chemistry reports in the literature describing the pharmacological properties of thousands of narcotics, stimulants, hallucinogens, sedative-hypnotic drugs, cannabinoids, and other psychoactive substances as well as synthetic methods for their preparations. This information, while essential for the advancement of science, has been used by clandestine chemists to manufacture and market an endless variety of analogs of so-called designer drugs. In this review, we describe how clandestine chemists used the principles of medicinal chemistry to design molecules, referred to as designer drugs, that elicit the effects of opioids, amphetamine and analogs, cannabinoids, and phencyclidine analogs while circumventing the law.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amphetamines / chemistry
  • Amphetamines / pharmacology
  • Analgesics, Opioid / chemistry
  • Analgesics, Opioid / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Cannabinoids / chemistry
  • Cannabinoids / pharmacology
  • Chemistry, Pharmaceutical / ethics
  • Designer Drugs / chemistry*
  • Designer Drugs / pharmacology
  • Drug Design*
  • Drug and Narcotic Control / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Humans
  • Illicit Drugs / chemistry*
  • Illicit Drugs / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Illicit Drugs / pharmacology
  • Phencyclidine / analogs & derivatives
  • Phencyclidine / chemistry
  • Phencyclidine / pharmacology
  • Scientific Misconduct
  • United States

Substances

  • Amphetamines
  • Analgesics, Opioid
  • Cannabinoids
  • Designer Drugs
  • Illicit Drugs
  • Phencyclidine