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4-Methylthioamphetamine (4-MTA) is a designer drug developed in the 1990s by a team led by David E. Nichols at Purdue University. It acts as a non-neurotoxic highly selective serotonin releasing agent (SSRA) in animals. It is distantly related to several other SSRAs, including MMAI, MDAI, and MDMAI.
4-MTA is a strong serotonin releaser similar to paramethoxyamphetamine (PMA), which can cause pronounced hyperthermia potentially resulting in organ failure and death. The subjective effects of 4-MTA include prolonged stimulation, which, in contrast to other amphetamines, is accompanied by little sense of euphoria. 4-MTA is also an MAO-A inhibitor, which may explain its tendency to easily cause adverse effects, as MAOIs are not considered safe to use in conjunction with stimulants.
It was developed by the research team led by David E. Nichols, but was intended to be used only as an agent for laboratory research into the serotonin transporter protein, and Nichols was reportedly sad to see 4-MTA appear as a drug of abuse on the street.
4-MTA was briefly sold in smart shops in the Netherlands, though was soon banned by the Dutch government after serious side-effects started to emerge. It was also briefly sold on the black market as MDMA during the late 1990s, mainly in the USA, but proved unpopular due to its high risk of severe side effects (several deaths were reported) and relative lack of positive euphoria.
4-MTA is currently a Class A drug in the United Kingdom although it has been suggested it be rescheduled as a Class B drug. It is also a controlled substance in Argentina (as well as 2C-B, 2C-I and 2C-T-2).
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- Carmo, H.; Brulport, M.; Hermes, M.; Oesch, F.; De Boer, D.; Remião, F.; Carvalho, F. L.; Schön, M. R.; Krebsfaenger, N.; Doehmer, J.; Bastos Mde, M. D. L.; Hengstler, J. G. (2007). "CYP2D6 increases toxicity of the designer drug 4-methylthioamphetamine (4-MTA)". Toxicology 229 (3): 236–244. doi:10.1016/j.tox.2006.10.024. PMID 17156908.
- Huang, X; Marona-Lewicka, D; Nichols, DE (1992). "p-methylthioamphetamine is a potent new non-neurotoxic serotonin-releasing agent". European Journal of Pharmacology 229 (1): 31–8. doi:10.1016/0014-2999(92)90282-9. PMID 1473561.
- 4-MTA info on possible dangers - ecstasy.org
- ""I think 4MTA, LSD and ecstasy probably shouldn't be Class A", from "Call for ecstasy to be downgraded", BBC News, Wednesday, 22 November 2006, 15:57 GMT
- Last Argentina Controlled Drugs List
- "4-MTA Legal Status". Erowid. June 21, 2004. Retrieved 27 March 2014.
- EMCDDA Report (1999) on the risk assessment of 4-MTA in the framework of the joint action on new synthetic drugs
- Erowid 4-MTA vault (Accessed 10/1/06)
- Ecstasy.org: 4-MTA - info on possible dangers (Accessed 10/1/06)
- Abstract: "Para-methylthioamphetamine, A New Designer Drug of Abuse" (Accessed 10/1/06)