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para-Methoxyamphetamine
Systematic (IUPAC) name
1-(4-methoxyphenyl)propan-2-amine
Identifiers
CAS number 64-13-1
ATC code  ?
PubChem 31721
Chemical data
Formula C 10H15NO 
Mol. mass 165.232 g/mol
SMILES eMolecules & PubChem
Synonyms p-Methoxyamphetamine
4-Methoxyamphetamine
Pharmacokinetic data
Bioavailability  ?
Metabolism  ?
Half life  ?
Excretion  ?
Therapeutic considerations
Pregnancy cat.  ?
Legal status
Routes  ?

para-Methoxyamphetamine (PMA; "Death",[1] "Dr. Death",[1] "Chicken Powder", [2] "Chicken Yellow" [2]), also known as 4-methoxyamphetamine (4-MA), [2] is a psychoactive drug and research chemical of the phenethylamine and amphetamine chemical classes. It produces stimulant and psychedelic effects.

PMA has occasionally been found in tablets labeled as "Ecstasy" (scientific name MDMA), even though it produces similar, yet notably different effects in comparison to MDMA. PMA is commonly synthesized from anethole, the flavor compound of anise and fennel, mainly because the starting material for MDMA, safrole, has become less available due to law enforcement action, causing illicit drug manufacturers to use anethole as an alternative.[3] Once thought to be a human invention[4], recent research suggests PMA occurs as a trace alkaloid in plants including certain Acacia species.[5]

Contents

History

PMA first came into circulation in the early 1970s, where it was used intentionally as a substitute for the hallucinogenic properties of LSD.[6] It went by the street names of "Chicken Powder" and "Chicken Yellow" and was found to be the cause of a number of drug overdose deaths (the dosages taken being in the range of hundreds of milligrams) in the United States and Canada from that time.[7] Between 1974 and the mid-1990s, there appear to have been no known fatalities from PMA.[8] Several deaths reported as MDMA-induced in Australia in the mid-1990s are now considered to have been caused by PMA, the users unaware that what they were ingesting was not MDMA but in fact PMA.[9] There have been a number of PMA-induced deaths around the world since then.[10][11]

Distribution

PMA capsules seized in Maryland, USA

Because PMA is given out through the same venues and distribution channels that "Ecstasy" tablets are, the risk of being severely injured, hospitalized or even dying from use of ecstasy increases significantly when a batch of "Ecstasy" pills containing PMA starts to be sold in a particular area.[12] PMA pills could be a variety of colours or imprints, and there is no way of knowing just from the appearance of a pill what drug(s) it might contain.[13][14] However, it is possible to test any "ecstasy" pill that is bought with a pill testing kit before it is consumed to determine its content, and to monitor reported results from drug testing laboratories and avoid any pills that are reported to contain PMA. Notable batches of pills containing PMA have included Mitsubishi Turbo or Red/Blue Mitsubishi and Yellow Euro pills.[15]

Pharmacodynamics

It appears that PMA elevates body temperatures dramatically; the cause of this property is suspected to be related to its ability to inhibit monoamine oxidase A and at the same time releasing large amounts of serotonin, effectively causing serotonin syndrome.[16][17] Amphetamines, especially serotonergic analogues such as MDMA, are strongly contraindicated to take with MAOIs. Many amphetamines and adrenergic compounds raise body temperatures; whereas some tend to produce more euphoric activity, or peripheral vasoconstriction, or tend to favor one effect over another, it appears that PMA activates the hypothalamus much more strongly than MDMA and other drugs like ephedrine, thereby causing rapid increases in body temperature (which is the major cause of death in PMA mortalities).[18][19][20] Many people taking PMA try to get rid of the heat by taking off their clothes, taking cold showers or wrapping themselves in wet towels, and even sometimes by shaving off their hair.[21]

Dangers

PMA has been associated with numerous adverse reactions including death.[22][23] Effects of PMA ingestion include many effects of the hallucinogenic amphetamines including accelerated and irregular heartbeat, blurred vision, and a strong feeling of intoxication which is often unpleasant. While PMA can reportedly be euphoric at low doses, the dose-response curve is much steeper than that of MDMA, and at higher doses unpleasant effects such as nausea and vomiting, severe hyperthermia and hallucinations quickly overpower any pleasurable effects. The effects of PMA also seem to be much more unpredictable and variable between individuals than those of MDMA, and sensitive individuals may die from a dose of PMA that a less susceptible person might only be mildly affected by.[24] There are approximately twice as many deaths caused by PMA as by MDMA [25], even though the actual proportion of PMA on the market is only a fraction of that of MDMA. While PMA alone may cause significant toxicity, the combination of PMA with MDMA has a synergistic effect which seems to be particularly hazardous.[26] Since PMA has a slow onset of effects, several deaths have occurred where individuals have taken a pill containing PMA, followed by a pill containing MDMA some time afterwards due to thinking that the first pill was not active.[27]

Treatment of overdose

PMA overdose can be a serious medical emergency which may occur at only slightly above the usual recreational dose range, especially if PMA is mixed with other stimulant drugs such as cocaine or MDMA. Characteristic symptoms are pronounced hyperthermia, tachycardia and hypertension, along with agitation, confusion and convulsions. PMA overdose also tends to cause hypoglycaemia and hyperkalaemia which can help to distinguish it from MDMA overdose. Complications can sometimes include more serious symptoms such as rhabdomyolysis and cerebral hemorrhage requiring emergency surgery. There is no specific antidote, so treatment is symptomatic, and usually includes both external cooling, and internal cooling via IV infusion of cooled saline. Benzodiazepines are used initially to control convulsions, with stronger anticonvulsants such as phenytoin or thiopental used if convulsions continue. Blood pressure can be lowered either with a combination of alpha blockers and beta blockers (or a mixed alpha/beta blocker), or with other drugs such as nifedipine or nitroprusside. Serotonin antagonists and dantrolene may be used as required. Despite the seriousness of the condition, the majority of patients survive if treatment is given in time, however patients with a core body temperature over 40°C at presentation tend to have a poor prognosis.[28]

Analogues

Four analogues of PMA have been reported to be sold on the black market, including PMMA, PMEA,[29] 4-ETA and 4-MTA. These are the N-methyl, N-ethyl, 4-ethoxy and 4-methylthio analogues of PMA, respectively. PMMA and PMEA are reportedly weaker, more "ecstasy-like" and somewhat less dangerous than PMA itself, but can still produce nausea and hyperthermia similar to that produced by PMA, albeit at slightly higher doses. 4-EtOA was briefly sold in Canada in the 1970s but little is known about it.[30] 4-MTA however is even more dangerous than PMA and produces strong stimulant effects and intense hyperthermia, but with little euphoria, and was implicated in several deaths in the late 1990s.

Legality

It is classified as a Schedule I hallucinogen under the Controlled Substances Act in the United States. Internationally, PMA is a Schedule I drug under the Convention on Psychotropic Substances.[31]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b Salna, Karlis (7 April 2008). "Warning of possible shift to killer drug". Sydney Morning Herald (Fairfax). http://news.smh.com.au/national/warning-of-possible-shift-to-killer-drug-20080407-2482.html. Retrieved 2008-06-29.  
  2. ^ a b c "PiHKAL • info | read | #97 4-MA". http://isomerdesign.com/PiHKAL/read.php?domain=pk&id=97.  
  3. ^ Waumas D, Bruneel N, Tytgat J. Anise oil as para-methoxyamphetamine (PMA) precursor. Forensic Science International. 2003 Apr 23;133(1-2):159-70.
  4. ^ Ask Dr. Shulgin Online September 26, 2001
  5. ^ Clement, Beverly A., Goff, Christina M. and Forbes, T. David A. "Toxic amines and alkaloids from Acacia berlandieri". Phytochemistry 46(2), pp. 249-254 [1]
  6. ^ "PiHKAL - #97 4-MA". www.erowid.org. 1995-2009. http://www.erowid.org/library/books_online/pihkal/pihkal097.shtml. Retrieved 1 September 2009.  
  7. ^ DEA. "The Hallucinogen PMA: Dancing With Death" (PDF). http://www.erowid.org/chemicals/pma/pma_dea_intellbrief.pdf. Retrieved 2008-06-29.  
  8. ^ Felgate, Heather E.; Felgate, Peter D., James, Ross A., Sims, Noel, Vozzo, Dominic C. (1998). "Recent Paramethoxyamphetamine Deaths". Journal of Analytical Toxicology 22 (2): 169–172. http://www.erowid.org/references/refs_view.php?A=ShowDoc1&ID=174. Retrieved 2008-06-29. "A Canadian report from 1974 is the most recent report of death due to PMA toxicity".  
  9. ^ Byard, RW; Gilbert, J, James, R, Lokan, RJ (1998). "Amphetamine Derivative Fatalities in South Australia-Is "Ecstasy" the Culprit?". The American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology 19 (3): 261–265. doi:10.1097/00000433-199809000-00013. http://www.erowid.org/references/refs_view.php?A=ShowDoc1&ID=18. Retrieved 2008-06-29.  
  10. ^ Galloway JH, Forrest AR (September 2002). "Caveat Emptor: Death involving the use of 4-methoxyamphetamine". Journal of Clinical Forensic Medicine 9 (3): 160. PMID 15274949.  
  11. ^ Lamberth PG, Ding GK, Nurmi LA (April 2008). "Fatal paramethoxy-amphetamine (PMA) poisoning in the Australian Capital Territory". The Medical Journal of Australia 188 (7): 426. PMID 18393753.  
  12. ^ Galloway JH, Forrest AR. Caveat Emptor: Death involving the use of 4-methoxyamphetamine. Journal of Clinical Forensic Medicine. 2002 Sep;9(3):160.
  13. ^ "Drug Info". http://dancesafe.org/documents/druginfo/pma_faq.php. Retrieved 2008-06-15.  
  14. ^ "Warning: pills sold as ecstasy found to contain PMA". http://ecstasy.org/testing/pma.html. Retrieved 2008-06-15.  
  15. ^ Kraner JC, McCoy DJ, Evans MA, Evans LE, Sweeney BJ. Fatalities caused by the MDMA-related drug paramethoxyamphetamine (PMA). Journal of Analytical Toxicology. 2001 Oct;25(7):645-8.
  16. ^ Daws LC, Irvine RJ, Callaghan PD, Toop NP, White JM, Bochner F. Differential behavioural and neurochemical effects of para-methoxyamphetamine and 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine in the rat. Progress in Neuropsychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry. 2000 Aug;24(6):955-77
  17. ^ Selective inhibition of monoamine oxidase in monoa...[Naunyn Schmiedebergs Arch Pharmacol. 1983] - PubMed Result
  18. ^ Jaehne EJ, Salem A, Irvine RJ. Effects of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine and related amphetamines on autonomic and behavioral thermoregulation. Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior. 2005 Jul;81(3):485-96.
  19. ^ Callaghan PD, Irvine RJ, Daws LC. Differences in the in vivo dynamics of neurotransmitter release and serotonin uptake after acute para-methoxyamphetamine and 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine revealed by chronoamperometry. Neurochemistry International. 2005 Oct;47(5):350-61.
  20. ^ Jaehne EJ, Salem A, Irvine RJ. Pharmacological and behavioral determinants of cocaine, methamphetamine, 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine, and para-methoxyamphetamine-induced hyperthermia. Psychopharmacology (Berlin). 2007 May 27
  21. ^ Refstad S. Paramethoxyamphetamine (PMA) poisoning; a 'party drug' with lethal effects. Acta Anaesthesiologica Scandinavia. 2003 Nov;47(10):1298-9.
  22. ^ Martin TL. Three cases of fatal paramethoxyamphetamine overdose. Journal of Analytical Toxicology. 2001 Oct;25(7):649-51.
  23. ^ Becker J, Neis P, Röhrich J, Zörntlein S. A fatal paramethoxymethamphetamine intoxication. Legal Medicine (Tokyo). 2003 Mar;5 Suppl 1:S138-41.
  24. ^ Smets G, Bronselaer K, De Munnynck K, De Feyter K, Van de Voorde W, Sabbe M. Amphetamine toxicity in the emergency department. European Journal of Emergency Medicine. 2005 Aug;12(4):193-7.
  25. ^ http://www.erowid.org/chemicals/mdma/mdma.shtml
  26. ^ Lora-Tamayo C, Tena T, Rodriguez A, Moreno D, Sancho JR, Ensenat P, Muela F. The designer drug situation in Ibiza. Forensic Science International. 2004 Mar 10;140(2-3):195-206.
  27. ^ Dams R, De Letter EA, Mortier KA, Cordonnier JA, Lambert WE, Piette MH, Van Calenbergh S, De Leenheer AP. Fatality due to combined use of the designer drugs MDMA and PMA: a distribution study. Journal of Analytical Toxicology. 2003 Jul-Aug;27(5):318-22.
  28. ^ Caldicott DG, Edwards NA, Kruys A, Kirkbride KP, Sims DN, Byard RW, Prior M, Irvine RJ (2003). "Dancing with "death": p-methoxyamphetamine overdose and its acute management". Journal of Toxicology. Clinical Toxicology 41 (2): 143–54. PMID 12733852.  
  29. ^ John F. Casale, Patrick A. Hays, Trinette K. Spratley, and Pamela R. Smith. The Characterization of 4-Methoxy-N-ethylamphetamine Hydrochloride. DEA Microgram Journal 2006; 4(1-4)
  30. ^ Alexander & Ann Shulgin, PiHKAL #97
  31. ^ "Annual Estimates Of Requirements Of Narcotic Drugs, Manufacture Of Synthetic Drugs, Opium Production And Cultivation Of The..." (PDF). http://www.incb.org/pdf/e/list/green.pdf. Retrieved 2008-06-15.  

External links


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