Synthetic Cathinones (Bath Salts, Molly)


Naturally-Occurring Cathinone

  • Naturally Occurring Compound from Catha Edulis (Khat) Plant

Synthetic Cathinones

  • General Comments: these are typical components of bath salts, although the composition varies widely (depending on the geographic location)
  • Methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV): common in US bath salt preparations
  • Mephedrone: common in European bath salt preparations
  • Methylone: occasionally used
  • Pyrovalerone Derivatives: occasionally used
  • Pipradrol Derivatives: occasionally used


  • Increased Synaptic Concentrations of Dopamine, Serotonin, and Norepinephrine Neurotransmitters
    • Stimulant Effect*: similar to amphetamines
      • Less able to cross the blood-brain barrier than amphetamines (due to the presence of beta-keto group)


  • PO

Adverse Effects

Toxicologic Adverse Effects

Other Adverse Effects

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  • Serotonin syndrome associated with MDPV use: a case report. Ann Emerg Med. 2012 Jul;60(1):100-2 [MEDLINE]