Some science behind the scenes
meta-Chlorophenylpiperazine (mCPP) is a drug of the phenylpiperazine class.
It was initially developed in the late-1970s and used in scientific research. It is now being sold as a 'designer drug'. It has been detected in pills touted as legal alternatives to illicit stimulants in New Zealand and pills sold as "ecstasy" in Europe and the United States.
Despite its advertisement as a recreational substance, mCPP can make you very ill. It can induce panic attacks, it worsens [or creates] obsessive-compulsive symptoms and induces headaches.
In the research laboratory it was used for testing cluster headache medications - mCPP would be given to induce the headache and the potential antimigraine/headache releief medication would then be used afterwards.
Meta-chlorophenylpiperazine is a major metabolite of the drugs trazodone and nefazodone, and "may be responsible for some of their side-effects, such as headaches and migraines induced many hours after initial consumption".
It has caused deaths - a number of deaths.
A 20-year-old man,... with a medical history of allergic asthma died after ingesting half a tablet [of mCPP] . The white tablet, stamped with a "smiling sun" logo looked very much like an ecstasy tablet and was sold as such.
He experienced a severe asthma attack just after ingesting the half tablet and it evolved over the next few hours into fatal cardiorespiratory arrest. Biological samples, taken after embalming, were analyzed by high-performance liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (HPLC-MS/MS).
Analysis revealed meta-chlorophenylpiperazine (mCPP) in concentrations of 45.8 mg in a similar tablet obtained later from the drug dealer, 5.1 ng/mL in the bile, 0.3 ng/g in the liver, 15.0 ng/mL in the urine, and its absence in a hair sample (<0.02 ng/mg), which indicated he was not a regular user. ....
Interrogated by the police after his arrest, the dealer said that he had sold the victim and for the very first time two tablets with the same "smiling sun" logo.
The tablet used for analysis was from the same brand as the one ingested by the victim. The autopsy excluded other causes of death, while the histological analyses showed a large number of polynuclear eosinophils in the bronchial walls, confirming the asthmatic pathology.
- PMID: 23009714