Tag Archives: Designer drug

Molecular Mechanisms of Methamphetamine Induced-Neurotoxicity

Methamphetamine is a stimulant that is also highly soluble in water and affects the CNS most. Categorically it fits in the group of synthetic drugs chemically related to amphetamine but it has more adverse effects on the Central nervous system than the parent compound. Abuse of these illegal psychostimulants has become an international public health problem, with an estimated 14 to 52 million amphetamine-type stimulant users worldwide, exceeding the total number of cocaine abusers and second only to the number of cannabis abusers. This number has continued to rise in spite of the fact that much has been done to publicize the adverse effects these amphetamine related stimulants are linked to. Meth or speed as known in stimulant use circles exists in different forms like powder, tablets and capsules. It can also be found in a purer crystalline form.

It’s dangerous why is it used?

Just like most stimulants or drugs that are known to induce euphoric feelings, methamphetamine is also taken for similar reasons for example; to induce euphoric feelings, increased sense of well-being, increase energy and to calm anxiety. Being a powerful drug its effects are felt immediately after the use but these effects can last for long hours. They may be accompanied by acute adverse effects such as increased blood pressure and heart rate, which may cause irreversible damage to blood vessels in the brain, resulting in cerebrovascular accidents, stroke, and death. Methamphetamine also produces hyperthermia, pupil dilation, flushing, tremors, trismus and bruxism, muscle tension, loss of appetite or anorexia, and loss of pleasure in food intake which further leads to deterioration of the user’s health.


Effects of Methamphetamine

Being an addictive drug, after a prolonged use the users may develop tolerance. It’s most common symptoms after a prolonged use include; temporomandibular joint syndrome, dental erosion, and myofacial pain. Long-term use also produces lack of appetite, weight loss, accelerated aging, nose-bleeding problems, nonhealing wounds, tooth decay and fracture known as “Meth mouth”. Psychiatric symptoms include anxiety, depression, increased aggression, social isolation, psychosis, mood disturbances, and psychomotor dysfunction. Long periods of high consumption can cause paranoid psychosis. Other symptoms of chronic methamphetamine use may also include; deficits in attention, working memory, and decision making. Most addicts are stuck in the use of meth as a result of the withdrawal symptoms which include the following; irritability, fatigue, impaired social functioning, and intense craving for the drug. Researchers have given evidence that the negative neuropsychiatric consequences of methamphetamine abuse are due, at least in part, to drug-induced neuropathological changes in the brain. Although the exact molecular mechanisms of neuronal body loss are not known, there is evidence to suggest the coexistence of different types of cell death, including apoptosis and necrosis ; indicated by the morphology of neurons stained with hematoxylin-eosin.  Growing evidence exhibits that methamphetamine and MDMA induce an increase in lipid peroxidation and DNA oxidation as well as increased levels of oxidative stress markers such as hydroxyl radical producing neurotoxicity. Methamphetamine increases expression of inducible nitric oxide synthase (nNOS)/ neuronal nitric oxide synthase (iNOS ) indicating increased synthesis of neuronal nitric oxide, which combines with superoxide radicals to form peroxynitrite which is a strong oxidant and a major neurotoxin . Induction of nNOS/iNOS by methamphetamine or MDMA  constitutes part of the mechanism of methamphetamine damage, as selective inhibition or genetic inactivation of nNOS and overexpression of cupper zinc superoxide dismutase (CuZnSOD), an enzyme that catalyzes the dismutation of superoxide into oxygen and hydrogen peroxide, prevent methamphetamine neurotoxicity . Even though methamphetamine increases iNOS expression in the striatum , there is no basis for supposing the involvement of glial nitric oxide in methamphetamine-induced toxicity, but it is interesting to note that mice deficient in iNOS have increased resistance to methamphetamine-induced dopamine neuron damage.


The neurotoxic effects of methamphetamine on the dopaminergic system are accompanied by activation of astroglia and microglia in the same areas  being strongest in the striatum, the area with biggest toxicity. Glial cells are not activated in the nucleus accumbens, which is not much damaged . In mice, glial activation in striatum and in substantia nigra occurs shortly after methamphetamine administration, as indicated by a significant increase in Mac-1 ;a marker of reactive microglia 24 hours after methamphetamine exposure and prominent increases in GFAP ; a marker of reactive gliosis in response to injury occur within a week  after treatment . The extent of these glial reactions correlates with the observed severity of neurotoxicity.

The dopaminergic system is also involved in this toxicity, as demonstrated in various mutant mice in which inactivation of dopamine transport, dopamine D1 receptors or D2 receptors affords a significant protection against methamphetamine toxicity. Administration of THC prevents dopaminergic toxicity after MDMA, a similar amphetamine derivative to methamphetamine, by CB1 receptor stimulation which is present in striatal medium spiny neurons. All these receptors are involved in different aspects of learning processes that became affected by the chronic use of methamphetamine or MDMA.

Finally, Drug abuse, addiction and independence are problems that people grapple with every day. These problems need to be treated effectively through integrative medicine. Dr. Dalal Akoury (MD) is an expert at this.  Call her on (843) 213-1480 for help.

Molecular Mechanisms of Methamphetamine Induced-Neurotoxicity


Bath Salts, Dangerous side effects

Dangerous Drugs Disguised As ‘Bath Salts’

Bath salts is a tittle that is given to a family of drugs that contain one or more than one synthetic chemicals related to cathinone, an amphetamine-like stimulant found naturally in the Khat plant. The name ‘bath salts’ was given to these drugs because of the ways they were disguised in the market. These drugs are often in the form of white powder, or crystals which often resemble legal bathing products like Epsom salts, but are different in chemical composition from actual bath salts. Those trading in these drugs were very cunning or do we say they were clever they even wrote on the packaging of these drugs as ‘not for human consumption’ just to evade all the problems from the authorities. Hence these drugs were traded for a long time without fear of prohibition.

It is therefore necessary for me to state this here, these drugs that were marked as bathing salts simply to evade problems that the traders would go through incase the authorities detected they were dealing in drugs should never be mistaken for the genuine bathing salts such as Epsom salts that are sold with intentions of improving bathing experience. Epsom and other genuine salts do not contain the drug properties that are in designed drugs disguised as bathing salts.

These drugs have since become a public health and safety issue. There has been a growing concern to tame the use of these drugs after several scientific studies have shown that they do affect the people who use them adversely. The users of these ‘bathing salts’ are always lured by the opinion that these drugs would give a person a feeling of euphoria, increased sociability and even increases a person’s sex drive. Those who are using these drugs for these reasons are misled because they do not always check for the side effects that may come along with the ‘benefits’ that they seek to find in these bathing salts.  Some of the side effects that are associated with the use of these ‘bathing salts’ are paranoia, agitation, and hallucinatory delirium; some even display psychotic and violent behavior, and in extreme cases, deaths. With proof that these drugs can cause death it therefore calls for caution in handling these drugs and strict laws should be adopted to deal with those found in possession of these ‘bathing soaps’ just as it has always been done with other hard drugs.

bath salts

The use of these drugs has really spread as fast as they are now being sold online under such names as plant food, jewelry cleaner and even phone screen cleaner. There are also other online drug stores that also sell these drugs under such brand names as Ivory Wave, Bloom, Cloud Nine, Lunar Wave, Vanilla Sky, White Lightning and Scarface.

Common synthetic cathinones found in bath salts include 3, 4 methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV), mephedrone commonly known as Drone, Meph, or Meow Meow and methylone, but there are others that are not mentioned here. Much is still unknown about how these substances affect the human brain, and each one may have somewhat different properties. Chemically, they are similar to amphetamines such as methamphetamine as well as to MDMA also known as ecstasy.

The energizing and often agitating effects reported in people who have taken bath salts are consistent with other drugs like amphetamines and cocaine that raise the level of the neurotransmitter dopamine in brain circuits regulating reward and movement. A surge in dopamine in these circuits causes feelings of euphoria and increased activity. A similar surge of the transmitter norepinephrine can raise heart rate and blood pressure. Bath salts have been marketed as cheap and until recently, legal substitutes for those stimulants. A recent study found that MDPV—the most common synthetic cathinone found in the blood and urine of patients admitted to emergency departments after bath salts ingestion—raises brain dopamine in the same manner as cocaine but is at least 10 times more potent. This shows how dangerous these drugs are.

Those who use these bathing salts have been reported to inhibit hallucinatory effects that are similar to those experienced by those who are using such drugs as MDMA or LSD that are known to increase the levels of serotonin which is another known neurotransmitter. Researchers have done experiments on rats through which it was found that mephedrone and methylone increased the levels of serotonin as it happens with the use of MDMA.

Here are some other side effects of Bath salts

Bath salts Today hospitals are receiving victims of these bath salts. Most of the reactions that they inhibit include but not limited to high blood pressure, and chest pains, psychiatric symptoms like paranoia, hallucinations, and panic attacks. There is also a symptom commonly referred to as ‘excited delirium’ from taking bath salts also may have dehydration, breakdown of skeletal muscle tissue, and kidney failure.

These drugs are also very addictive and since may prove a real hell to break free from. The more a person uses these drugs the more he craves for more of this drug and this with time may prove fatal. When used for a long time it may beckon dependence.

There are very many side effects associated with ‘bath salts’ but the greatest fear is that these drugs are designed and so most of the contents are unknown which seem very dangerous.

Finally, Dr. Dalal Akoury (MD) is an experienced Medical Educator who has been in the frontline fighting drug addiction. She runs a website that equips readers of better ways to overcome not only drug addiction but also serious health problems that have caused nightmares to the world population. Get in touch with her today and learn more. Dr. Akoury offers great Natural addiction education to Physicians, Nurses, Nurse Practitioners , and Councilors.

 Dangerous Drugs Disguised As ‘Bath Salts’