A cluster of deaths involving 5-(2-aminopropyl)indole (5-IT)

J Anal Toxicol. 2013 Oct;37(8):542-6. doi: 10.1093/jat/bkt058. Epub 2013 Jul 9.


During 2012, the designer drug 5-(2-aminopropyl)indole emerged in Sweden, and became available at different web sites under the name 5-IT or 5-API. This compound is an indole derivative and a positional isomer of alpha-methyltryptamine. In this paper, we report the pathology and toxicology from 15 deaths involving 5-IT. Routine postmortem toxicology was performed in femoral blood, using a targeted screening for pharmaceuticals and drugs of abuse with liquid chromatography time-of-flight technology, and positive results were quantified using chromatographic techniques. For 5-IT, a new method was developed using ultra-high-performance liquid chromatography and tandem mass spectrometry. In 11 cases, intoxication was the cause of death. Two cases were signed out as causa ignota, and they were considered to be natural deaths. All determinations of 5-IT were performed in femoral blood and the concentrations ranged from 0.7 to 18.6 µg/g. Two cases had 5-IT as the only drug identified, while the others presented with other psychotropic drugs or medications in the blood as well. Shortly after this series of deaths, 5-IT was scheduled as a hazardous substance according to the regulation Certain Goods Dangerous to Health on 18 September 2012 prohibiting the handling and selling of the drug. Since then, no positive cases have been found.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Designer Drugs / poisoning*
  • Forensic Toxicology / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Forensic Toxicology / methods*
  • Government Regulation
  • Humans
  • Indoles / blood*
  • Indoles / poisoning*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Substance Abuse Detection / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Substance Abuse Detection / methods*
  • Substance-Related Disorders* / etiology
  • Substance-Related Disorders* / mortality
  • Sweden
  • Tandem Mass Spectrometry
  • Young Adult


  • Designer Drugs
  • Indoles
  • 5-(2-aminopropyl)indole