May 6, 2010

Mephedrone: Entity of the Month

Overdosed by Elad R, on FlickrRelease 68 of Chemical Entities of Biological Interest (ChEBI) is now available, with 549,319 total entities, of which 21,075 are fully annotated. This month’s entity of the month is Mephedrone, a substance which has been in the news headlines lately and as wikipedia points out is “not to be confused with Methedrine, Methedrone, Methadone, or Methylone“. Don’t you just love chemical names?! Text below reproduced from the ChEBI website:

“Mephedrone (CHEBI:59331) is a synthetic central nervous system stimulant and entactogen drug chemically related to cathinone, the psychoactive alkaloid present in the khat plant (Catha edulis, family Celastraceae).

It can be synthesised from 4-methylpropiophenone by an initial bromination at the β-carbon followed by replacement of the bromine by a methylamino group derived from methylamine hydrochloride. Although it was probably not available until 2007, by 2009 mephedrone had become the fourth most popular street drug in the UK, behind cannabis, cocaine and ecstasy. Little is currently known regarding its pharmacology or toxicology, although one recent report suggests the likelihood that it stimulates the release of, and then inhibits the reuptake of, monoamine neurotransmitters [1].

Although already listed as a prohibited substance in many countries, in others it has varying degrees of legality (notably the USA where it is currently unscheduled under the Controlled Substances Act). In the UK, a decision by the Home Secretary to classify mephedrone as illegal caused the resignation of two members of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) which has led in turn to a general questioning of UK drugs policy. Mephedrone finally became classified as a Class B drug in the UK on April 16, 2010 – prior to this time it was often sold openly under the guise of a ‘plant food’ (although having no known use as such).”


  1. Winstock, A., Marsden, J., & Mitcheson, L. (2010). What should be done about mephedrone? BMJ, 340:c1605 DOI: 10.1136/bmj.c1605

[Creative Commons licensed picture ‘Overdosed’ by Elad Rahmin on flickr]


  1. Your missing the Street synonyms in the entry -ayyee!, no sign of meow meow anywhere, innit 🙂

    Comment by peanutbutter — May 6, 2010 @ 6:12 pm | Reply

    • HI Frank, you’d have to ask the curators about that 🙂 Are they synonyms or slang? .. meph, drone, bubbles, meow miaow ..

      Comment by Duncan — May 7, 2010 @ 10:11 am | Reply

  2. Interesting, 21075 are fully annotated, yet only 16178 sdf structures in the 3 star dataset provided in http://www.ebi.ac.uk/chebi/downloadsForward.do in the ChEBI lite 3 star sdf set. Is that the ~5K classes that you are counting as being fully annotated that constitute the difference? Or am I missing something?

    Comment by Leo — May 13, 2010 @ 7:34 pm | Reply

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