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Clinical and pharmacological aspects of bath salt use: a review of the literature and case reports.

  • Author(s): Miotto, Karen
  • Striebel, Joan
  • Cho, Arthur K
  • Wang, Christine
  • et al.

Bath salts are designer drugs with stimulant properties that are a growing medical and psychiatric concern due to their widespread availability and use. Although the chemical compounds in the mixtures referred to as "bath salts" vary, many are derivatives of cathinone, a monoamine alkaloid. Cathinones have an affinity for dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine synapses in the brain. Because of the strong selection for these neurotransmitters, these drugs induce stimulating effects similar to those of methamphetamines, cocaine, and 3,4-methylenedioxy-N-methylamphetamine (MDMA). Much of the emerging information about bath salts is from emergency department evaluation and treatment of severe medical and neuropsychiatric adverse outcomes. This review consists of a compilation of case reports and describes the emergent literature that illustrates the chemical composition of bath salts, patterns of use, administration methods, medical and neuropsychiatric effects, and treatments of patients with bath salt toxicity.

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