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Prevalence of use and acute toxicity associated with the use of NBOMe drugs

Summary: 

There is evidence suggesting limited use of the NBOMe class of drugs as novel psychoactive substances compared with that of classical recreational drugs and other novel psychoactive substances such as mephedrone.

Main subject: 

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Abstract

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Introduction
The 25 X -NBOMe series are N-2-methoxybenzyl analogues of the respective 2C-X substituted phenethylamine and include 25B-N(BOMe)2, 25B-NBOMe, 25C-NBOMe, 25D-NBOMe, 25E-NBOMe, 25G-NBOMe, 25H-NBOMe, 25I-NBOMe, 25N-NBOMe and 25iP-NBOMe. There are reports of their use as novel psychoactive substances and associated acute toxicity from Europe, the United States and elsewhere over the last fi ve years. This review will discuss the epidemiology of use and pattern of acute toxicity associated with use of these compounds.
Methods.
A PubMed search was performed using the search terms ‘ NBOMe ’ , ‘ 25B-N(BOMe)2 ’ , ‘ 25B-NBOMe ’ , ‘ 25C-NBOMe ’ , ‘ 25D-NBOMe ’ , ‘ 25E-NBOMe ’ , ‘ 25G-NBOMe ’ , ‘ 25H-NBOMe ’ , ‘ 25I-NBOMe ’ , ‘ 25N-NBOMe ’ and ‘ 25iP-NBOMe ’ covering the years 1966 – 2014. In addition, abstracts from the 2010 – 2014 congresses of the European Association of Poisons Centres and Clinical Toxicologists and the 2010 – 2013 North American Congress of Clinical Toxicology were reviewed using these search terms. Further information was obtained from the European Information System and Database on New Drugs co-ordinated by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA).
Prevalence of use.
There are no national or international surveys collecting data on the prevalence of use of NBOMe drugs. The only information on prevalence of use is from two sub-population surveys of individuals who frequent nightclubs. Of 22,289 respondents of the 2013 Global Drugs Survey, 582 (2.6%) had previously used an NBOMe; the most commonly used NBOMe was 25I-NBOMe (442 respondents, 2.0% of whole cohort and 75.9% of those who had used an NBOMe). In a survey of 397 clubbers in London nightclubs in 2013, 11.8% had heard of the NBOMe drugs (compared with 96.0% for mephedrone), and 4.8% had ever used an NBOMe (compared with 76.6% for mephedrone).
Acute toxicity.
There were 29 published cases in the literature of acute toxicity associated with the use of an NBOMe: 25I-NBOMe – 23 cases; 25B-NBOMe – 3 cases; 25C-NBOMe – 3 cases. Commonly reported features include tachycardia (96.6%), hypertension (62.0%), agitation/aggression (48.2%), seizures (37.9%) and hyperthermia (27.6%). Five patients were reported to have developed acute kidney injury. There were an additional 25 reports of acute toxicity related to the use of 25I-NBOMe reported to the EMCDDA. The pattern of toxicity in these cases is similar to that seen in the published cases.
NBOMe-related deaths.
25I-NBOMe has been detected in eight fatalities; in one of these, 25C-NBOMe was also detected. The role of the NBOMe drugs in these deaths has not been determined in all cases.
Conclusions.
Currently, there is evidence suggesting limited use of the NBOMe class of drugs as novel psychoactive substances compared with that of classical recreational drugs and other novel psychoactive substances such as mephedrone.