Synthetic cathinones: chemistry, pharmacology and toxicology of a new class of designer drugs of abuse marketed as "bath salts" or "plant food"

Toxicol Lett. 2012 Jun 1;211(2):144-9. doi: 10.1016/j.toxlet.2012.03.009. Epub 2012 Mar 21.


In 2000s, many synthetic cathinones have received a renewed popularity as designer drugs of abuse, particularly among young people. Despite being marketed as "bath salts" or "plant food" and labeled "not for human consumption", people utilize these substances for their amphetamine or cocaine like effects. Since the time of their appearance in the recreational drug market, in several countries have been signaled numerous confirmed cases of abuse, dependence, severe intoxication and deaths related to the consumption of synthetic cathinones. The aim of this paper is to summarize the clinical, pharmacological and toxicological information about this new class of designer drugs of abuse.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alkaloids / chemistry
  • Alkaloids / pharmacology*
  • Alkaloids / poisoning
  • Designer Drugs / chemistry
  • Designer Drugs / pharmacology*
  • Designer Drugs / poisoning
  • Humans
  • Illicit Drugs / chemistry
  • Illicit Drugs / pharmacology*
  • Illicit Drugs / poisoning
  • Psychotropic Drugs / chemistry
  • Psychotropic Drugs / pharmacology*
  • Psychotropic Drugs / poisoning
  • Substance-Related Disorders / etiology*


  • Alkaloids
  • Designer Drugs
  • Illicit Drugs
  • Psychotropic Drugs
  • cathinone