This article details a new synthetic cathione identified in a series postmortem forensic toxicology cases.
The synthetic cathione N,N-Dimethylpentylone (dipentylone) has emerged as a new psychoactive substance (NPS) on the drug market as an alternative to controlled stimulants and entactogen. Based on prior trends of new synthetic cathinones, N,N-dimethylpentylone may predominate the U.S. synthetic stimulant market for the next 1–2 years. N,N-Dimethylpentylone, also known as dipentylone or beta-keto-dimethylbenzodioxolylpentanamine, emerged into the illicit drug supply within 2 months of the international control of eutylone (September 2021). A novel standard addition method was developed and validated for N,N-dimethylpentylone, pentylone and eutylone, and 18 postmortem cases were quantitated using the method described in this manuscript. The majority of synthetic cathinones can be subclassified into two groups: beta-keto amphetamines (i.e., NPS with the suffix “drone”) and beta-keto methylenedioxyamphetamines (i.e., NPS with the suffix “lone”). Although a significant number of beta-keto amphetamines have been identified, beta-keto methylenedioxyamphetamines have dominated the NPS market, including notable drugs like methylone, butylone, N-ethyl pentylone (ephylone), eutylone, and now N,N-dimethylpentylone. The resulting blood concentration range for N,N-dimethylpentylone in this case series was 3.3 to 970 ng/mL. Pentylone, a metabolite of N,N-dimethylpentylone, was detected in all cases. Due to the rise in identifications of N,N-dimethylpentylone in postmortem investigations as well as the potential misidentification of N,N-dimethylpentylone as N-ethyl pentylone, samples testing positive for pentylone should be additionally confirmed for the presence of N,N-dimethylpentylone. Given the emergence of additional closely related isomeric compounds, it is important to utilize methodology capable of differentiating N,N-dimethylpentylone from its isomers (N-isopropylbutylone, N-ethyl pentylone, N-ethyl N-methyl butylone, hexylone, N-propylbutylone, diethylone and tertylone).
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