Adderall versus Mephedrone: effects, dangers of interactions


Adderall and Mephedrone are substances with psychostimulant properties. The former is used to treat ADHD symptoms in both adolescents and adults, while mephedrone is used exclusively for recreational purposes primarily as an euphoretic and to a small extent as a psychostimulant. While they have a lot in common, they also have a few key differences that can affect different body systems. Read on to learn more about the similarities and differences in their (Adderall vs. Mephedrone) potential side effects and dangers.

Adderall vs. Mephedrone Adderall and Mephedrone

What is Adderall and Mephedrone?

Adderall (dextroamphetamine) and Mephedrone (4-methylmethcathinone) both belong to the class of psychostimulants, the former being an amphetamine and the latter a cathinone. In general, they both act on the central nervous system (CNS), increasing levels of dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin.

Adderall is officially approved by the FDA for the treatment of ADHD as well as several other conditions, while mephedrone is banned in many countries. Synthetic cathinones are designer drugs with inoffensive names like «bath salts», «plant food», or «research chemicals» as a ruse to get round the regulations governing the sale of psychoactive compounds.

Also, Adderall is FDA approved to treat symptoms of narcolepsy and other fatigue-related conditions such as excessive daytime sleepiness, while Vyvanse is also FDA approved to treat compulsive overeating (BED). The number of American adults taking Adderall for ADHD has increased by 90% since 2002.

However, the use of psychostimulants can lead to dependence and abuse. Stimulants have become the second most popular drug among college students. This is due to the belief that stimulants such as Adderall are «harmless».

Adderall are classified by the FDA as a Schedule II drug, which means they pose a high risk of abuse that can lead to physical and/or psychological dependence. This also means that a prescription is required to legally purchase and use them.

4-Methyl-N-methylcathinone (mephedrone) is a popular synthetic cathinone which isn’t now legal in the US and other countries. In last years, there has been an increase in the recreational use of synthetic psychoactive substances known as «designer drugs» or «legal highs». These compounds are synthesized by chemists who study the medical and patent literature to identify structures that target specific neuronal receptors or transporters known to mediate psychoactive effects.

Legislative authorities have banned mephedrone, MDPV, and certain other synthetic cathinones in the US (Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Department of Justice, 2013), and similar legislation has been enacted in European countries.

In response to legislative bans, adventurous chemists have synthesized a lot of «second-generation» replacement analogs as as a tool to skirt regulatory control, and this tendency is expected to continue. Since the legislative ban on mephedrone, a number of «second-generation», »mephedrone class drugs have appeared in a street drug marketplaces and darknet marketplaces including 4-methyl-N-ethylcathinone (4-MEC) and 40-methyl-a-pyrrolidinopropiophenone (4-MePPP).

Adderall vs. Mephedrone abuse

Because of their stimulant effects, amphetamine-based drugs such as Adderall are widely abused because of their effects on concentration and sustained attention. In one survey of students who abuse stimulant drugs, 93.5% of students reported that they abused these drugs to enhance their ability to study for extended periods of time.

Students who abuse these psychostimulants and euphoretics also often report a host of other effects consistent with the known effects of similar drugs, such as elevated mood (euphoria), increased motivation, and increased physical and mental energy. However, there are several differences between these drugs that may affect how and why they are abused. For example, the «euphoric» effect of Adderall is believed to be much lower and cannot compare to the euphorogenicity of 4-MMC. Similarly, one survey of 5,000 patients found that Mephedrone was abused at a much higher frequency than Adderall with both prolonged and immediate release.

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An unknown danger of mephedrone abuse is that it is difficult to predict the effects that a certain amount will have. This increases the chances of people taking potentially fatal doses or doses that can lead to rapid addiction. A common misconception many people have about mephedrone is that it is a less dangerous drug than other substances such as cocaine and ecstasy. Mephedrone was developed as a cheap alternative to these drugs, and there are deaths directly related to its overdose. Mephedrone can be even more addictive than other psychostimulants and euphoretics, especially when administered intravenously. The fact that the common way of taking mephedrone is through binge drinking contributes to a rapid increase in users tolerance, which in turn causes addiction and dependence.

The dangers of abuse

Nevertheless, in all cases, the abuse of those drugs without prescription or their recreational use carries serious risks and dangers.

For example, the abuse of Adderall can cause potentially serious side effects, including psychosis, heart attacks, heart muscle disease, and even sudden death. They can also cause long-term increases in heart rate and short-term increases in blood pressure.

Mephedrone, among other things, carries a very high risk of addiction and dependence, which can lead to withdrawal syndrome after abuse. Withdrawal, in turn, can lead to symptoms such as:

  • Mental addiction
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Social dysfunction
  • According to recent studies, Adderall may cause fewer withdrawal symptoms than mephedrone.
  • Other negative mental and psychological side effects of mephedrone use include:
  • Euphoria quickly turning into paranoia
  • Uncontrollable cravings for mephedrone
  • Depression
  • Nightmares
  • Extreme agitation Inability to sleep (insomnia)
  • Hallucinations and delusions
  • Episodes of self-harm
  • Suicidal thoughts or suicide attempts

There is very little scientific evidence to support the fact that Adderall improves cognitive function in over-the-counter users. For example, one study involving 46 healthy volunteers found that Adderall had no effect on memory, creativity, intelligence, or standardized testing, but the volunteers believed they were improving.

The belief that Adderall can improve cognitive abilities may actually help some people simply by increasing their self-confidence. In other words, many of the supposed «cognitive improvements» from these drugs may simply be a placebo effect.

Safety and side effects

  • The most common side effects of Adderall and Mephedrone include:
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth
  • Irritability/excitement
  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • Weight loss (weight loss can be stopped with other medications, such as cyproheptadine, or with a high-calorie diet)
  • Anxiety
  • Headache
  • Insomnia
  • Increased heart rate
  • Some more serious side effects have also been reported. If any of these symptoms occur after taking Adderall or Mephedrone, contact your doctor immediately:
  • Seizures (convulsions)
  • Fever up to 41°C
  • Muscle problems, such as spasms or twitching
  • Hallucinations (visual or auditory)
  • Fainting
  • Signs of heart problems (may be fast, slow, or irregular heartbeat)
  • Signs of circulation problems (unexplained bruising, numbness, colds, skin discoloration, or pain in fingers or toes)

Rarer but still serious side effects are also possible. For example, some preliminary evidence suggests that Adderall may impair short-term memory in some users.

Similarly, Adderall has sometimes been reported to lead to antisocial feelings, preventing users from enjoying themselves or participating in interactions with others.

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Some of the mental side effects of 4-MMC use arise from too much dopamine in the brain. For example, according to one study involving 14 patients, 12 mephedrone addicts developed psychosis. This caused schizophrenia-like paranoia and severe hallucinations that persisted for nearly two weeks.

The use of Adderall by athletes can be dangerous because it raises body temperature, which can cause significant heat stress throughout the body. This is especially dangerous during exercise because it is easy to miss symptoms of heat stress, such as exhaustion and fatigue.

Acute mephedrone intoxication leads to euphoria and increased self-confidence. The violence and harm to others associated with this mental state should not be underestimated. In addition, intense sexual arousal often occurs, leading to risky sexual behavior with all the consequences that entails.

Psychotic symptoms, usually with paranoid and/or delusional delusions plus hallucinations, can be frightening and also lead to dangerous behavior. Acute medical effects of mephedrone intoxication also include serotonin syndrome, which can be fatal.

Dehydration and kidney disorders with dangerous electrolyte disturbances are possible. Sweating, tremors, teeth grinding, and pupil dilation are common clinical signs. Tachycardia is dramatically increased and may lead to the development of dysrhythmias, and hypertension may lead to cerebrovascular accidents. Delirium, seizures, coma, and death are possible.

According to some researchers, the use of stimulants may also stunt growth, especially in young patients. For example, one long-term study of 281 children who took Adderal found that their average height was 13% lower compared to children who never received the medication.

However, this idea is still controversial, and it is not known for sure whether these differences in height could be permanent. For example, some researchers have suggested that stopping treatment may cause growth to «rebound» after medication is stopped. However, much more research will be needed to know exactly what the long-term effects of these drugs on growth are.

Cardiovascular risk (Adderall vs. Mephedrone)

Some studies suggest that of all the potential side effects of Mephedrone and Adderall, those related to the cardiovascular system may be particularly important.

For example, one of the most dangerous side effects of Adderall and 4-MMC can be a heart attack or stroke. Patients with a personal or family history of heart disease are believed to be at a higher risk of developing such complications from the use of these substances.

Some evidence suggests that these heart-related complications may be related to the changes in heart rate and blood pressure that are often seen after using Adderall or Mephedrone. On average, Adderall increases heart rate by 10 to 20 beats per minute, and as the dose increases, the heart rate also increases. For example, according to one study involving 111 children with ADHD, Adderall increased heart rate to 10.6 beats per minute. Average blood pressure also increased to 7 mm Hg. Mephedrone, five to six times stronger than Adderall on the cardiovascular system, increases heart rate by 40-50 beats per minute, sometimes more.

Therefore, some researchers have suggested that the chronic stress that these exposures place on the cardiovascular and circulatory systems may be responsible for some of these long-term risks.

Because of these findings, some researchers advise patients to be carefully screened for any potential pre-existing cardiovascular or circulatory problems before starting to use Mephedrone or Adderall.

Interaction with medicines

Adderall release may depend on stomach acidity. According to one study involving 24 healthy adults, when Adderall was taken with omeprazole (which reduces gastric acidity), Adderall’s Tmax was reduced by 2.25 hours. Mephedrone’s Tmax in response to omeprazole was reduced by almost 1.25 times, suggesting that Mephedrone is virtually unaffected by changes in gastric acidity.

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Because Mephedrone is not affected by changes in pH, it is thought to have relatively fewer interactions with other medications (since it is one less factor that can affect how a drug works in the body). However, this is true for the most part for those drugs that affect the gastrointestinal tract.

However, the following Adderall drug interactions may also apply to Mephedrone: Acetazolamide; Ammonium chloride; Buspirone chlorpromazine; Etosuximide; Fentanyl; Glutamic acid; Guanethidine Haloperidol; Hydrochlorothiazide; Lithium; Meperidine; Methenamine; Phenobarbital; Phenytoin; Propoxyphene; Quinidine; Reserpine; Ritonavir; Sodium acid phosphate; St. John’s wort; Tramadol; Tryptophan supplements; Allergy; Antacids; Cimetidine; Esomeprazole; Omeprazol; Pantoprazole; Sodium bicarbonate; Blood pressure medications; Desipramine; Fluoxetine; Paroxetine; Protriptyline; Migraine medications; Monoamine oxidase inhibitors.

These are just a small fraction of the medications with which Aderral and Mephedrone directly interact and alter their effects. Finally, although rare, the combination of alcohol and Adderall can lead to a heart attack, so drinking alcohol while taking these medications is not recommended.

  • When using mephedrone together with drugs of FDE-5 inhibitors group, the probability of side effects of both substances increases, most often: pronounced pain in the head of spastic nature, nausea. The probability of developing severe critical conditions is low.
  • When mephedrone is used in conjunction with marijuana, there is a likelihood of increased blood pressure, headaches, fine tremors, dry mouth. The likelihood of developing severe critical conditions is low.
  • When mephedrone is used with neuroleptics/tranquilizers, there is a high probability of leveling out the main effects of mephedrone. The probability of developing severe critical conditions is low (when there are no contraindications to taking neuroleptics).
  • Mephedrone use is not recommended during pharmacological therapy with antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal drugs, hormones, anticoagulants.
  • The combined use of mephedrone with iMAO and SSRIs increases the risk of serotonin syndrome.
  • The combined use with 25x-NBOMe and 25x-NBOH is not recommended due to the high risk of acute coronary syndrome, severe psychosis.
  • The use of mephedrone together with LSD does not have a “desirable” effect, since mephedrone changes the psychedelic properties of LSD, however, there are some sporadic cases of positive reviews.
  • The combination of mephedrone with MXE, MDMA, DXM leads to an increase in incidence of complications associated with severe side effects, such as persistent increase in blood pressure, hyperthermia, neurotoxicity, ischemic attacks of the brain, acute coronary syndrome.
  • The combined use of mephedrone with alcohol is a potentially dangerous combination due to an increase in the duration of the psychostimulating and euphorogenic effects of mephedrone and a decrease in the degree of alcoholic intoxication, which contributes to the uncontrolled consumption of a large amount of these substances, exposing users to an increased risk of acute intoxication.
  • The use of mephedrone with ketamine (in low doses) together is a popular combination. The risks of developing critical conditions are medium or low, and the effect of low doses of ketamine makes the experience of using mephedrone more “hallucinogenic” and “smoothes” the undesirable post-effects of mephedrone at the comedown from the trip.
  • The combined use of mephedrone and opioid receptor agonists is not recommended.