Substituted amphetamines are a chemical class of stimulants, entactogens, hallucinogens, and other drugs. They feature a phenethylamine core with a methyl group attached to the alpha carbon resulting in amphetamine, along with additional substitutions. Examples of substituted amphetamines are amphetamine (itself), methamphetamine, ephedrine, cathinone, MDMA ("ecstasy"), and DOM ("STP").
In 2013, it was estimated that between 13 and 54 million people used substituted amphetamines recreationally (0.3% to 1.1% of the global population between the ages of 15 and 65).
Amphetamine derivatives occur in nature, for example in the leaves of Ephedra and khat plants. These have been used since antiquity for their pharmacological effects. Amphetamine was first produced at the end of the 19th century. By the 1930s, amphetamine and some of its derivative compounds found use as decongestants in the symptomatic treatment of colds and also occasionally as psychoactive agents. Their effects on the central nervous system are diverse, but can be summarized by three overlapping types of activity: psychoanaleptic, hallucinogenic and empathogenic. Various substituted amphetamines may cause these actions either separately or in combination.
List of substituted amphetamines
|Generic or Trivial Name||Chemical Name||# of Subs||Comments||Reference(s)|
|Phenylpropanolamine (PPA)||β-Hydroxyamphetamine, (1R,2S)-||1|
|para-Bromoamphetamine (PBA, 4-BA)||4-Bromoamphetamine||1|
|para-Chloroamphetamine (PCA, 4-CA)||4-Chloroamphetamine||1|
|para-Fluoroamphetamine (PFA, 4-FA, 4-FMP)||4-Fluoroamphetamine||1|
|para-Iodoamphetamine (PIA, 4-IA)||4-Iodoamphetamine||1|
|Pseudoephedrine (PSE)||β-Hydroxy-N-methylamphetamine, (1S,2S)-||2|
|para-Fluoromethamphetamine (PFMA, 4-FMA)||4-Fluoro-N-methylamphetamine||2|
|Nordefrin (α-Me-NE)||β,3,4-Trihydroxyamphetamine, (R)-||3|
Ephedra was used 5000 years ago in China as a medicinal plant; its active ingredients are alkaloids ephedrine, pseudoephedrine, norephedrine (phenylpropanolamine) and norpseudoephedrine (cathine). Natives of Yemen and Ethiopia have a long tradition of chewing khat leaves to achieve a stimulating effect. The active substances of khat are cathinone and, to a lesser extent, cathine.
Amphetamine was first synthesized in 1887 by Romanian chemist Lazăr Edeleanu, although its pharmacological effects remained unknown until the 1930s. MDMA was produced in 1912 (according to other sources in 1914) as an intermediate product. However, this synthesis also went largely unnoticed. In the 1920s, both methamphetamine and the dextrorotatory optical isomer of amphetamine, dextroamphetamine, were synthesized. This synthesis was a by-product of a search for ephedrine, a bronchodilator used to treat asthma extracted exclusively from natural sources. Over-the-counter use of substituted amphetamines was initiated in early 1930s by the pharmaceutical company Smith, Kline & French (now part of GlaxoSmithKline), as a medicine (Benzedrine) for colds and nasal congestion. Subsequently, amphetamine was used in the treatment of narcolepsy, obesity, hay fever, orthostatic hypotension, epilepsy, Parkinson's disease, alcoholism and migraine. The "reinforcing" effects of substituted amphetamines were quickly discovered, and the misuse of substituted amphetamines had been noted as far back as 1936.
During World War II, amphetamines were used by the German military to keep their tank crews awake for long periods, and treat depression. It was noticed that extended rest was required after such artificially induced activity.
The widespread use of substituted amphetamines began in postwar Japan and quickly spread to other countries. Modified "designer amphetamines" gained popularity since the 1960s, such as MDA and PMA. MDMA was rediscovered and popularized by the American chemist Alexander Shulgin in 1965, after which it was used for some time in psychotherapy sessions. In 1970, the United States adopted "the Controlled Substances Act" that limited non-medical use of substituted amphetamines. Street use of PMA was noted in 1972, and in 1985, MDMA was banned by the US authorities in an emergency scheduling initiated by the Drug Enforcement Administration.
Since the mid-1990s, MDMA has become a popular entactogenic drug among the youth and quite often non-MDMA substances were sold as "ecstasy". In the first legally sanctioned trials in the USA in over twenty years, it has been shown have efficacy as an adjunct to psychotherapy in the management of treatment-resistant post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Amphetamines are a subgroup of the substituted phenethylamine class of compounds. Substitution of hydrogen atoms results in a large class of compounds. Typical reaction is substitution by methyl and sometimes ethyl groups at the amine and phenyl sites:
|3,4,5-TMA (3,4,5-trimethoxyamphetamine, α-methylmescaline)||-CH3||-O-CH3||-O-CH3||-O-CH3|
|Agents||Legal status by 2009.|
|UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances of 1971||US||Russia||Australia|
|Amphetamine (racemic)||Schedule II||Schedule II||Schedule II||Schedule 8|
|Dextroamphetamine (D-amphetamine)||Schedule II||Schedule II||Schedule I||Schedule 8|
|Levamphetamine (L-amphetamine)||Schedule II||Schedule II||Schedule III||Schedule 8|
|Methamphetamine||Schedule II||Schedule II||Schedule I||Schedule 8|
|Cathinone Methcathinone||Schedule I||Schedule I||Schedule I||Schedule 9|
|MDA, MDMA, MDEA||Schedule I||Schedule I||Schedule I||Schedule 9|
|PMA||Schedule I||Schedule I||Schedule I||Schedule 9|
|DOB, DOM, 3,4,5-TMA||Schedule I||Schedule I||Schedule I||Schedule 9|
- Substituted phenethylamines
- Substituted methylenedioxyphenethylamines
- Substituted cathinones
- 2Cs and DOx
- Substituted tryptamines
- Substituted α-alkyltryptamines
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