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Cathinones

("Bath Salts")

By

Gerald F. O’Malley

, DO, Grand Strand Regional Medical Center;


Rika O’Malley

, MD, Grand Strand Medical Center

Last full review/revision Jun 2020| Content last modified Jun 2020
CLICK HERE FOR THE PROFESSONAL VERSION

Cathinone is an amphetamine Amphetamines Amphetamines are stimulant drugs that are used to treat certain medical conditions, but are also subject to abuse. Amphetamines increase alertness, enhance physical performance, and produce... read more -like stimulant derived from the plant Catha edulis (khat). The khat plant is a shrub grown in East Africa and on the Arabian peninsula. For centuries, people there have chewed the leaves for their mild stimulant effect. In those regions, chewing khat is often a social activity, similar to coffee drinking in other societies.

Recently, khat use has spread to other countries, and much stronger, man-made (synthetic) cathinones marketed as "bath salts" have become drugs of abuse.

Symptoms

The effects of synthetic cathinones are similar to those of amphetamines and include headache, a rapid heart rate (tachycardia Ventricular Tachycardia Ventricular tachycardia is a heart rhythm that originates in the ventricles (lower chambers of the heart) and produces a heart rate of at least 120 beats per minute (the normal heart rate is... read more Ventricular Tachycardia ), palpitations, hallucinations, agitation, and an increased endurance and tolerance for pain. Some people become violent.

Complications

Diagnosis

  • A doctor's evaluation

  • Blood and urine tests

Because synthetic cathinones are not detected with routine urine or blood testing, doctors usually base the diagnosis on symptoms in people known to have used the drug. Doctors typically order the following specific tests for anyone showing signs of severe acute cathinone intoxication:

Treatment

  • IV sedatives

  • IV fluids

Typical treatments, which include IV sedatives and fluids and supportive care, are usually adequate. People with dangerously high body temperature (hyperthermia Serotonin Syndrome Serotonin syndrome is a potentially life-threatening drug reaction that tends to cause high body temperature, muscle spasms, and anxiety or delirium. Serotonin is a chemical that transmits impulses... read more ), persistently high heart rate or agitation, and blood tests that suggest possible kidney problems should be hospitalized and monitored for muscle breakdown and heart and kidney damage.

More Information about Cathinones

NOTE: This is the Consumer Version. DOCTORS: CLICK HERE FOR THE PROFESSONAL VERSION
CLICK HERE FOR THE PROFESSONAL VERSION
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Idiopathic Environmental Intolerance
Idiopathic environmental intolerance is defined as the development of multiple symptoms that are attributed to exposure to any number of identifiable or unidentifiable substances or exposure to electromagnetic fields. Which of the following groups is most likely to experience this type of intolerance?
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