In recent years there has been a remarkable increase in the production and distribution of synthetic drugs.

Since the end of the 1990s, more than 200 new psychoactive substances have been detected, marketed under cover of dubious legality and used as alternatives to traditional illegal drugs; one of them is deoxypradrol, a powerful long-lasting stimulant whose long-term effects are still unknown .

In this article, we discuss deoxypradrol, its effects and mechanism of action, as well as the possible adverse reactions that can be caused by its consumption.

Desoxipipradrol: description and characteristics

Deoxypradrol or 2-DPMP is a new psychoactive substance of the stimulant type , with effects similar to those of methylphenidate and other stimulant drugs such as cocaine or amphetamines. This drug was originally synthesized in 1950 by the pharmaceutical company Ciba-Geygy, from whose merger with Sandoz Novartis was born.

Initially, this substance was used in the treatment of attention deficit disorder and narcolepsy, but eventually shorter-acting medications ended up replacing it. The pharmaceutical company that synthesized deoxypradrol also tested it to speed recovery from anesthesia.

In the late 2000s, deoxypradol reappeared on the market, but this time it was marketed as a new psychoactive substance (NSP) for recreational uses. NSPs are substances that are not internationally controlled and whose sale is illegal. This type of drug can be bought in Internet stores, in preparations that imitate the appearance of incense and herbs, often without any health control.

In recent years, several toxicological reports have suggested that this drug may have led to a number of psychotic events in drug addicts in the UK and elsewhere. However, very little research has been done on the effects of this drug on the brain and its long-term effects are still unknown.

Mechanism of action

Deoxypradrol or 2-DPMP has functional and structural similarities to pipradol (a mild central nervous system stimulant) and methylphenidate. It acts as a noradrenaline and dopamine reuptake inhibitor, and appears to promote the release of dopamine in some parts of the brain, hence its potential for abuse is significant.

L nimal studies have shown that the release and reuptake of dopamine produced by 2-DPMP is similar to that of cocaine . Users who have consumed the substance for recreational purposes report that the stimulant effects are similar to those of any drug of this type (cocaine, amphetamines, etc.), the only difference being the duration of its effects: between 24 and 48 hours. However, there have been cases of overdose where the effects have lasted 3 and days.

Studies on the pharmacological properties of deoxypradrol are scarce. However, in rat brain slices, specifically in the nucleus accumbens (linked to reward and motivation systems), the effects of 2-DPMP have been observed to be clearly more potent than those of cocaine. This is exemplified by dopamine terminals where there is a seven-fold increase in peak levels of this neurotransmitter (compared to only a three-fold increase in cocaine).

Routes of administration

There are several known routes of administration for deoxypradrol: by inhalation or insufflation; by intravenous or intramuscular injection; orally; wrapped in a cigarette or cigarette paper; and rectally . Oral ingestion appears to be the most common form of administration, and doses vary from 1 to 10 mg, depending on the mode of use. Typical oral doses range from 1 to 2 mg, although the optimal dose is around 5-10 mg.

There is not enough information about whether the effects of 2-DPMP are dose-dependent or not, as there are hardly any reports of use of this substance, apart from informal reports and subjective experiences of consumers. Cases have been reported in which this drug has been administered rectally, through enemas in which 2-DPMP powder is introduced into water.

Effects on the body

Most of the information on the effects of deoxypradrol is derived from first-person accounts submitted by consumers of the substance themselves, mainly in specialized Internet forums. Acute physical effects may include vasoconstriction, increased blood pressure, chest pain, headache, loss of appetite , sweating and increased levels of creatine kinase.

The psychoactive effects that recreational users of this substance seek can appear after 15 minutes after its consumption (which is usually oral or nasal, mainly) and include: feeling of euphoria, alertness, feelings of empathy, feeling of energy and motivation. However, adverse reactions such as hyperactivity, confusion, cardiovascular disorders, hyperthermia, bruxism, insomnia or paranoia may also occur.

Health risks

Although there are no studies on the toxicological effects of 2-DPMP in humans, recently some confirmed cases of severe acute intoxication have been reported after the consumption of this substance . In particular, there have been reports of acute toxicity related to the consumption of deoxypradrolde in Scotland and Ireland.

The toxic effects observed were similar to those of amphetamines, but with predominant neuropsychiatric symptoms such as severe agitation, hallucinations, paranoid ideation, insomnia, tendency to aggression, anxiety and restlessness. In addition, people who showed symptoms of intoxication presented tachycardia, chest pain and hypertension.

In some people, the symptoms were still present seven days after consumption. However, several toxicological tests detected another cocaine-derived substance in addition to 2-DPMP in one of the random preparations purchased on the Internet, which could have increased the risk of intoxication. In addition, some deaths related to this substance have been reported, although it is not known whether they were caused by the use of this substance alone or by mixing it with other synthetic drugs.

Bibliographic references:

  • Corkery, J. M., Elliott, S., Schifano, F., Corazza, O., & Ghodse, A. H. (2012). 2-DPMP (deoxypipradrol, 2-benzhydrylpiperidine, 2-phenylmethylpiperidine) and D2PM (diphenyl-2-pyrrolidin-2-yl-methanol, diphenylprolinol): A preliminary review. Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry, 39(2), 253-258.

  • Coppola, M., & Mondola, R. (2012). Research chemicals marketed as legal highs: the case of pipradrol derivatives. Toxicology letters, 212(1), 57-60.

  • Lau, N. K., Chong, Y. K., Tang, M. H., Ching, C. K., & Mak, T. W. (2016). Desoxy-D2PM: a novel psychoactive substance in convenience stores. Hong Kong Med J, 22(5), 515.