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Diestelmann, Marco; Zangl, Anna; Herrle, Inge; Koch, Eva; Graw, Matthias; Paul, Liane D. (2018): MDPV in forensic routine cases: Psychotic and aggressive behavior in relation to plasma concentrations. In: Forensic Science International, Vol. 283: pp. 72-84
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The new psychoactive substance 3,4-methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV) belongs to the group of synthetic cathinones and is purchased mainly as "research chemical" or "bath salt" on the illegal drug market, also in South Bavaria. MDPV was detected in blood and urine samples from 2010 on in 50 authentic routine cases in a forensic setting. Plasma concentrations in 46 cases with available blood specimens ranged from approximately 1.0 to 301 mu g/L (median 23.7;mean 47.9 mu g/L), detected by a fully validated LC-MS/MS method. Subjects aged between 16 and 54 years (median 36;mean 35 years) and reflected experienced chronic drug users. Accused offences were mainly violent crimes such as bodily harm, robberies, homicides and acts of resistance. A lot of subjects showed highly aggressive and violent behavior with endangerment of self and others and/or psychotic symptoms as confusion, hallucinations or paranoia. The risk for such behavior rises with MDPV plasma concentrations above as low as 30 mu g/L, whereby a time interval of 1.5 h on average between incident and/or observation of impairment and blood sampling has to be taken into account. Comprehensive toxicological analysis proved poly-drug use in almost all cases including opiates/opioids, benzodiazepines and other sedatives, antidepressants and other stimulants, also other new psychoactive substances. Alcohol was detected only in three cases. Co-consumed benzodiazepines seem not be able to completely prevent psychotic effects despite their use as first-line treatment for patients with synthetic cathinone poisonings. The study demonstrates that relatively low plasma concentrations of MDPV could be associated with mental impairment which is relevant in the assessment of forensic cases.