Mephedrone (4-methylmethcathinone): what is new in our understanding of its use and toxicity

Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2012 Dec 3;39(2):227-33. doi: 10.1016/j.pnpbp.2012.04.020. Epub 2012 Apr 28.


Mephedrone (4-methylmethcathinone) is a synthetic cathinone that has been used as a recreational drug in Europe and elsewhere in the world since 2007. In addition to published scientific papers there are a number of different data sources available which provide information on the sources, availability and prevalence of use of mephedrone. Whilst there are no formal human studies to determine the acute toxicity of mephedrone, there is a range of different levels of data available which describe the acute toxicity of mephedrone. These include user Internet discussion fora, sub-population level surveys of user previous experiences of acute toxicity and individual case reports and case series of toxicity related to both self-reported and analytically confirmed mephedrone use. In this review article we describe how through the process of data triangulation using a combination of these different sources, it is possible to develop an understanding of the acute toxicity of mephedrone. This demonstrates that mephedrone has a pattern of acute toxicity that is similar to other stimulant drugs such as MDMA, amphetamine and cocaine.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amphetamine-Related Disorders / epidemiology
  • Animals
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants / analysis
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants / pharmacology
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants / toxicity*
  • Drug and Narcotic Control / trends
  • Humans
  • Methamphetamine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Methamphetamine / analysis
  • Methamphetamine / pharmacology
  • Methamphetamine / toxicity
  • Models, Animal
  • Prevalence


  • Central Nervous System Stimulants
  • Methamphetamine
  • mephedrone