Clinical toxicology (Philadelphia, Pa.) 2017 03 2855(6) 573-578 doi 10.1080/15563650.2017.1301463
To define the characteristics of synthetic cathinone users admitted to hospital including clinical and laboratory parameters and the complications of use.
Retrospective single-center study of patients treated for acute cathinone intoxication and complications of cathinone use between January 2010 and January 2016.
A specialized clinical toxicology unit at an academic tertiary care center in Southern Germany serving a population of about 4 million.
PATIENTS AND METHODS
81 consecutive patients with laboratory-confirmed use of cathinones who presented for acute intoxication or complications of cathinone use were retrospectively analyzed.
RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS
The patients were predominantly male (64%, 52/81) with a median age of 34 years. 60 were admitted for signs of acute intoxication while 21 suffered from complications of cathinone use. 70% of acutely intoxicated patients had an increased creatinine phosphokinase. Only a minority of patients presented with a sympathomimetic toxidrome. Three patients had infectious complications, 10 prolonged psychosis, 6 rhabdomyolyses and/or kidney failure, and two patients died. Based on presentations, cathinone use has increased with the first cases seen in 2010. Opiates/opioids are the main co-ingested drugs of abuse. The pattern of cathinone use shifted from methylone in 2010/2011 to 3,4-methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV) and 3-methylmethcathinone (3-MMC) in 2014/2015. We conclude that in our setting "typical" cathinone users are males in their thirties. They are seldom drug naïve and regularly co-ingest illicit drugs. Preventive measures have to be tailored to these difficult to reach patients. Present efforts to educate young clubbers in their late teens may fail to reach the pertinent demographic.