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New research stresses potential health dangers of “bath salts”

Science Spotlight

October 17, 2012

3,4-methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV)3,4-methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV)

NIDA research published in today’s Neuropsychopharmacology shows that MDPV, a synthetic chemical commonly found in the drugs referred to as “bath salts,” is potentially more dangerous than cocaine when tested in rodents. In this study, MDPV prolonged the effects of two neurotransmitters, dopamine and norepinephrine (by blocking reuptake at brain nerve cells) and produced hyperactivity, rapid heart rate and increased blood pressure - highly dangerous symptoms.

Though this study was done in rodents, these results could explain why these substances are addictive and highly dangerous in humans, as indicated by reports that MDPV is the chief substance found in the blood and urine of emergency room patients who have overdosed on “bath salts.”

For a copy of the study abstract, go to www.nature.com/npp/journal/vaop/ncurrent/abs/npp2012204a.html. For a recent interview on “bath salts” with the article’s first author, NIDA staff scientist Dr. Michael Baumann, go to www.nature.com/multimedia/podcast/npp/npp_09212012.mp3. For more information on “bath salts” and other emerging drugs, go to www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/emerging-drugs.

For more information, contact the NIDA press office at media@nida.nih.gov or 301-443-6245.


Contact:
NIDA Press Office
301-443-6245
media@nida.nih.gov

About the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA): NIDA is a component of the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIDA supports most of the world's research on the health aspects of drug abuse and addiction. The Institute carries out a large variety of programs to inform policy and improve practice. Fact sheets on the health effects of drugs of abuse and information on NIDA research and other activities can be found on the NIDA home page at www.drugabuse.gov. To order publications in English or Spanish, call NIDA's new DrugPubs research dissemination center at 1-877-NIDA-NIH or 240-645-0228 (TDD) or fax or email requests to 240-645-0227 or drugpubs@nida.nih.gov. Online ordering is available at drugpubs.drugabuse.gov. NIDA's media guide can be found at www.drugabuse.gov/publications/media-guide, and its new easy-to-read website can be found at www.easyread.drugabuse.gov.

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.

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This page was last updated October 2012

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