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Methaqualone: Wikis


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Systematic (IUPAC) name
CAS number 72-44-6
ATC code N05CM01
PubChem 6292
DrugBank ?
ChemSpider 6055
Chemical data
Formula C16H14N2O 
Mol. mass 250.30
Physical data
Melt. point 113 °C (235 °F)
Pharmacokinetic data
Bioavailability  ?
Metabolism  ?
Half life  ?
Excretion  ?
Therapeutic considerations
Pregnancy cat.  ?
Legal status Schedule III (CA) Schedule I (US)
Routes  ?
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Methaqualone is a sedative-hypnotic drug that is similar in effect to barbiturates, a general CNS depressant. Its use peaked in the 1960s and 1970s as a hypnotic, for the treatment of insomnia, and as a sedative and muscle relaxant. It has also been used illegally as a recreational drug, commonly known as Quaaludes (IPA: [ˈkweɪludz], KWAY-loodz) (particularly in the 1970s in North America) or as Mandrax (methaqualone 250 mg combined with diphenhydramine 5 mg). Since at least 2001, it has been widely used in South Africa, "the largest abuser of Mandrax in the world."[1] In South Africa it is commonly referred to as "smarties", or "geluk-tablette" (meaning happy tablets).

Methaqualone was first synthesized in India in 1951 by Indra Kishore Kacker and Syed Hussain Zaheer,[2][3] and was soon introduced to Japanese and European consumers as a safe barbiturate substitute.[citation needed] By 1965, it was the most commonly prescribed sedative in Britain, where it has been sold legally under the names Malsed, Malsedin, and Renoval. In 1965, a Methaqualone/antihistamine combination was sold as the sedative drug Mandrax, by Roussel Laboratories (now part of Sanofi-Aventis). At about the same time, it was becoming a popular recreational drug (called "mandies" or "mandrake" or "mandrix"). In 1972, it was the sixth-best-selling sedative in the USA,[4] where it was legal under the brand name Quaalude; at that time "luding out" was a popular college pastime.[5]



Effects can include euphoria, drowsiness, reduced heart rate, reduced respiration, increased sexual arousal (aphrodisia), and parasthesias (numbness of the fingers and toes). Bigger doses can bring about respiratory depression, slurred speech, headache, and photophobia (pain in the eyes when exposed to light).

An overdose can cause delirium, convulsions, hypertonia, hyperreflexia, vomiting, renal insufficiency, coma, and death through cardiac or respiratory arrest. It resembles barbiturate poisoning, but with increased motor difficulties and a lower incidence of cardiac or respiratory depression. Toxicity is treated with diazepam and sometimes other anticonvulsants.

Recreational use

Quaaludes became increasingly popular as a recreational drug in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The drug was used during sexual activity because of heightened sensitivity coupled with relaxation and euphoria. The drug was more tightly regulated in Britain under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 and in the U.S. from 1973. It was withdrawn from many developed markets in the 1980s, being made a Schedule I drug in the U.S. in 1984.

Smoking methaqualone, either by itself or as an adulterant added to various legal and illegal smoking mixtures, gained popularity in the U.S. during the mid-1970s. Because the various binders and inert ingredients that were contained in the pill form were toxic when smoked, this practice was roundly decried by the medical community as a serious health risk. Smoking methaqualone pills can lead to emphysema and other chronic lung disorders, most notably talcosis.

South Africa

Commonly known as Mandrax, M-pills buttons, or smarties, it is not taken orally but is crushed and mixed in a pipe with marijuana. Methaqualone is one of the most commonly used hard drugs in South Africa.[1][6] The low price (South African Rand R30.00 average, which is about USD $3.02 or EUR 2.34 (as of March 13 2009)) of methaqualone together with the ready availability of cheap, low-grade marijuana make it (in addition to methamphetamine and temazepam) the preferred hard drug of the low-income section of South African society.[1]

See also


  1. ^ a b c "Mandrax". DrugAware. Reality Media. 2003. Retrieved 2009-08-13. 
  2. ^ p. 142, A survey of reported synthesis of methaqualone and some positional and structural isomers, Etienne F. van Zyl, Forensic Science International 122, #2-3 (1 November 2001), pp. 142–149, doi:10.1016/S0379-0738(01)00484-4.
  3. ^ Potential Analgesics. Part I. Synthesis of substituted 4-quinazolones, I. K. Kacker and S. H. Zaheer, J. Ind. Chem. Soc. 28 (1951), pp. 344–346.
  4. ^ GC/MS Assays for Abused Drugs in Body fluids, p. 39
  5. ^ Scheindlin, Stanley (2005). "Antimalarials: Shortages and Searches". Molecular Interventions 5 (5): 268–272. doi:10.1124/mi.5.5.2. 
  6. ^ McCarthy G, Myers B, Siegfried N. Treatment for methaqualone dependence in adults. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2005 Apr 18;(2):CD004146. PMID 15846700
  • Bioavailability of Methaqualone

Smyth RD, Lee JK, Polk A, Chemburkar PB, Savacool AM (October 1973). "Bioavailability of methaqualone". J Clin Pharmacol 13 (10): 391–400. PMID 4490663. 
Nayak RK, Smyth RD, Chamberlain JH, et al. (April 1974). "Methaqualone pharmacokinetics after single- and multiple-dose administration in man". J Pharmacokinet Biopharm 2 (2): 107–21. PMID 4427217. 
Chemburkar PB, Smyth RD, Buehler JD, et al. (April 1976). "Correlation between dissolution characteristics and absorption of methaqualone from solid dosage forms". J Pharm Sci 65 (4): 529–33. PMID 1271252. 

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