Catha edulis, the fresh leaves of which (i.e., khat) are used for their central stimulant actions, has been known for many hundreds of years. S(-)Cathinone was identified as a centrally-active khat constituents >30 years ago. Although khat use was a problem long localized to certain Middle Eastern and certain Eastern African nations, 'synthetic cathinones' (synthetic analogs of cathinone) represent a "new" class of abused substances with growing worldwide appeal. To date, about 150 synthetic cathinones have been identified on the clandestine market, and only a dozen or so have been controlled (U.S. Schedule I). Because these agents do not represent a pharmacologically (i.e., behavioral) or mechanistically homogeneous class of agents, synthetic cathinones are being investigated one agent at a time to understand their actions, mechanisms of action, metabolism, toxicity, and abuse potential - the latter to identify possible modes of overdose treatment and for Scheduling purposes. The available agents might represent only the 'tip of the iceberg'; the potential for many more new synthetic cathinones is very real. Investigation of these agents on an agent-by-agent basis is a daunting task. Attempts are being made to understand these agents as a class, by examination of their structure-activity relationships. Here, we provide an overview of review articles that attempts to shed light on these agents as a class, rather than on an agent-by-agent basis. This article is meant to be a reference resource that might expedite the work of those in this field by directing them to where they can find useful information.
Keywords: Forensics; Khat; Methcathinone; Psychoactive bath salts; Review; α-Aminopropiophenones; β-Ketoamphetamine.
Neurobiology of 3,4-methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV) and α-pyrrolidinovalerophenone (α-PVP).Brain Res Bull. 2016 Sep;126(Pt 1):111-126. doi: 10.1016/j.brainresbull.2016.04.011. Epub 2016 Apr 29. Brain Res Bull. 2016. PMID: 27142261 Free PMC article. Review.
Bath salts, mephedrone, and methylenedioxypyrovalerone as emerging illicit drugs that will need targeted therapeutic intervention.Adv Pharmacol. 2014;69:581-620. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-420118-7.00015-9. Adv Pharmacol. 2014. PMID: 24484988 Free PMC article. Review.
Khat and synthetic cathinones: a review.Arch Toxicol. 2014 Jan;88(1):15-45. doi: 10.1007/s00204-013-1163-9. Epub 2013 Dec 8. Arch Toxicol. 2014. PMID: 24317389 Review.
Abuse potential and toxicity of the synthetic cathinones (i.e., "Bath salts").Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2020 Mar;110:150-173. doi: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2018.07.015. Epub 2019 May 14. Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2020. PMID: 31101438 Review.
Synthetic cathinones: "a khat and mouse game".Toxicol Lett. 2014 Sep 2;229(2):349-56. doi: 10.1016/j.toxlet.2014.06.020. Epub 2014 Jun 25. Toxicol Lett. 2014. PMID: 24973490 Review.