Fast Five Quiz: Do You Know About Newer Drugs of Abuse?

Mary L. Windle, PharmD


August 11, 2016

According to a comprehensive study, the stimulant effect of bath salts lasts approximately 3-4 hours. Because these drugs are created by "basement chemists" who alter existing compounds or create new ones to avoid detection, most routine toxicology screens are unable to detect the chemical substances that comprise various bath salt drugs. The chemicals (eg, methylenedioxypyrovalerone, mephedrone, pyrovalerone) are central nervous system stimulants that inhibit the norepinephrine/dopamine reuptake system. In 2011, the US Drug Enforcement Administration added these to the banned substance lists as Schedule I controlled substances.

Nosebleeds are short-term, less serious side effects. Significant, serious side effects include the following:

  • Increased blood pressure

  • Seizures

  • Loss of bowel control

  • Severe paranoia

  • Sharp increase in body temperature

  • Kidney failure

  • Muscle spasms

  • Muscle damage

  • Hallucinations and delusions

  • Panic attacks

Benzodiazepines, especially lorazepam, are commonly used to treat seizures and agitation that are associated with abuse of bath salts.

For more on hallucinogen toxicity, read here.


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