Journal Article

Three Fatal Intoxications Due to Methylone

Julia M. Pearson, Tiffanie L. Hargraves, Laura S. Hair, Charles J. Massucci, C. Clinton Frazee, Uttam Garg and B. Robert Pietak

in Journal of Analytical Toxicology

Volume 36, issue 6, pages 444-451
Published in print July 2012 | ISSN: 0146-4760
Published online May 2012 | e-ISSN: 1945-2403 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jat/bks043
Three Fatal Intoxications Due to Methylone

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We present three fatal intoxications of methylone, a cathinone derivative. Blood was analyzed with a routine alkaline liquid–liquid extraction and analyzed by gas chromatography coupled with a mass spectrometer (GC–MS). Methylone was identified by a full scan mass spectral comparison to an analytical standard of methylone. For a definitive and conclusive confirmation and quantitation, methylone was also derivatized with heptafluorobutyric anhydride and analyzed by GC–MS. In all three fatalities, the deceased exhibited seizure-like activity and elevated body temperatures (103.9, 105.9 and 107°F) before death. Two of the three cases also exhibited metabolic acidosis. One of the three cases had prolonged treatment and hospitalization before death with symptoms similar to sympathomimetic toxicity, including metabolic acidosis, rhabdomyolysis, acute renal failure and disseminated intravascular coagulation. The laboratory results for this patient over the 24 h period of hospitalization were significant for increased lactate, liver transaminases, creatinine, myoglobin, creatine kinase and clotting times, and decreased pH, glucose and calcium. Peripheral blood methylone concentrations in the three fatal cases were 0.84, 3.3 and 0.56 mg/L. In conlusion, peripheral blood methylone concentrations in excess of 0.5 mg/L may result in death due to its toxic properties, which can include elevated body temperature and other sympathomimetic-like symptoms.

Journal Article.  4532 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Medical Toxicology ; Toxicology (Non-medical)

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