Clinical characteristics of α-pyrrolidinovalerophenone (α-PVP) poisoning

Clin Toxicol (Phila). 2016 Aug;54(7):563-7. doi: 10.3109/15563650.2016.1166508. Epub 2016 May 26.


Context: α-Pyrrolidinovalerophenone (α-PVP) is a synthetic cathinone that has been abused in recent years. The clinical presentation of acute α-PVP poisoning has not been well characterized.

Objective: To elucidate the clinical features of acute α-PVP poisoning.

Materials and methods: This retrospective case series included eight subjects that visited our hospital emergency department (ED) between March 2012 and November 2014 and had analytically confirmed blood α-PVP levels. Data related to subject demographics, clinical history, laboratory findings, blood drug levels, and outcome were collected.

Results: The median age of the eight study subjects was 27 (range; 21-63) years, and six were male. Drug preparations had been administered by rectal insertion (three subjects) or inhalation (five subjects). The time between drug exposure and presentation at the ED was 8.5 (1-24) h and blood α-PVP concentrations ranged from 1.0 to 52.5 ng/ml. Although psychiatric and neurological findings were reported before arrival at the ED in 5/8 and 7/8 subjects, respectively, these were only observed in 1/8 and 2/8 subjects, respectively, at the ED. Symptoms of high body temperature (3/8), tachycardia (5/8), hypertension (3/8), acid-base balance disorder (5/8), coagulopathy (4/6), blood creatinine phosphokinase >190 U/l (6/8), and a blood lactate level > 1.7 mmol/l (5/7) were observed. All subjects survived and were discharged.

Conclusions: This retrospective case series showed that after acute exposure to α-PVP, transient neuropsychiatric findings were accompanied by more persistent sympathomimetic physical findings, disorders of acid-base balance and blood coagulation, high blood creatinine phosphokinase, and hyperlactacidemia.

Keywords: LC-MS/MS; new psychoactive substance; synthetic cathinone.

MeSH terms

  • Acid-Base Equilibrium
  • Adult
  • Blood Coagulation / drug effects
  • Creatine Kinase / blood
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyperlactatemia / blood
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pyrrolidines / poisoning*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Substance Abuse Detection*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / etiology
  • Young Adult


  • Pyrrolidines
  • alpha-pyrrolidinovalerophenone
  • Creatine Kinase