The Fury around Benzofury: 5-APB and 6-APB

The Fury around Benzofury:  5-APB and 6-APB

The phenylethylamines 5-APB (1-(benzofuran-5-yl)-propan-2-amine) and 6-APB (1-(benzofuran-6-yl)-propan-2-amine) (aka “Benzo Fury”, “Benzofury”, 5-APB, 6-APB) are two of many new psychoactive substances making the news.1-3, 7-9 The prevalence of use is unclear as these compounds are often taken with other drugs. The compounds have been detected in individuals presenting with acute agitation and paranoia to Emergency Departments. Several deaths have been attributed to the use of “Benzofury” including a death of a recent graduate who took the compound along with cocaine and went into cardiac arrest.7,9

These compounds have been available in “head shops” as well as on-line and can be purchased as capsules, pellets or powder.1 Although a user may purchase “Benzofury” what they get is not always one of these two compounds. The effects (lasting between 3-12 hours) include “euphoria, empathy, color enhancement and “speeded” (Flashback), with side effects of nausea (vomiting), jaw clenching and sleep”.1 Human and animal toxicity data is lacking on these compounds, but as phenylethylamines it is thought that they exhibit psycho-stimulant properties and may elicit effects on the neurotransmitters dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin.1, 4-6 “Drugs that block NET often produces effects in the cardiovascular system, as increased blood pressure and heart rate”.1 High doses and chronic intake is likely to cause cardiotoxicity.5,6

The use of compounds such as these pose the risk of addiction. Addiction coupled with the cardiotoxicity of long-term use (or short term use especially when used in conjunction with other illicit compounds) is a deleterious combination. The term “legal-high” carries the misconception that the use of these compounds go without the risk of harm or addiction, when in reality that is not the case.

References:

  1. Emerging Designer Drug Monograph: 5-APB. SOFT Designer Drug Committee Monographs. September 13, 2013. (Accessed December 4, 2013) < http://www.soft-tox.org/files/Designer_Drugs/5-APB.pdf>
  2. Stanczuk, A., Morris, N., Gardner, E. A., Kavanagh, P. (2013) Identification of (2-aminopropyl)benzofuran (APB) phenyl ring positional isomers in internet purchased products. Drug Test Analysis, 5(4), 270 – 276. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23349125
  3. Iversen, L., Gibbons, S., Treble, R., Setola, V., Huang, X. P., Roth, B. L. (2013) Neurochemical profiles of some novel psychoactive substances. European Journal of Pharmacology, 700(1-3),147 – 151. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23261499
  4. Schmitt, K. C., Reith, M. E. (2010) et al. Regulation of dopamine transporter: aspects relevant to psychostimulant drugs of abuse. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1187, 316 – 340. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20201860
  5. Wood, D. M., Davies, S., Puchnarewicz, M., Button, J., Archer, R., Ovaska, H., Ramsey, J., Lee, T., Holt, D. W., Dargan, P. I. (2010) Recreational Use of Mephedrone (4-Methylmethcatinone, 4-MMC) with Associated Sympathomimetic Toxicity. Journal of Medical Toxicology, 6(3), 327 – 330. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20358417
  6. Wood, D. M., Davies, S., Puchnarewicz, M., Johnston, A., Dargan, P. I. (2012) Acute toxicity associated with the recreational use of the ketamine derivative methoxetamine. European Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, 68(5), 853 -856. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22205276
  7. ‘Benzo Fury’ legal high killed graduate Jennifer Whitely as she celebrated her new job helping drug addicts. The Telegraph. November 27, 2013. (Accessed December 4, 2013) < http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/10479585/Benzo-Fury-legal-high-killed-graduate-Jennifer-Whiteley.html>
  8.  “Dangerous Synthetic Drugs”. Caucus On International Narcotics Control. September 25, 2013. (Accessed December 4, 2013) http://www.justice.gov/dea/pr/speeches-testimony/2013t/092513t.pdf
  9. Benzofurans: A Review of the Evidence of Use and Harm. Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs. November 28, 2013. (Accessed December 4, 2013) <https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/261783/Benzofuran_compounds_report.pdf>

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