USE OF MEPHEDRONE IN PREGNANCY

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(Date of issue: November 2016, Version: 1)

This is a UKTIS monograph for use by health care professionals. For case-specific advice please contact UKTIS on 0344 892 0909. To report an exposure please download and complete a pregnancy reporting form. Please encourage all women to complete an online reporting form.

A corresponding patient information leaflet on khat use in pregnancy is available at www.medicinesinpregnancy.org.

Summary

Cathinone is a naturally occurring stimulant compound found in khat (Catha edulis), a plant commonly chewed in regions of East Africa and the Arabian Peninsula for its psychoactive/CNS stimulant effects. Numerous synthetic cathinones including mephedrone are used recreationally.  

The currently available published data are too limited to permit an evidence-based assessment of whether gestational exposure to cathinones is associated with an increased risk of adverse fetal effects. However, cathinones are chemically similar to amfetamines, use of which during pregnancy is associated with an increased risk of preterm delivery, low infant birth weight or the infant being small for gestational age, and withdrawal symptoms in the neonate. Cathinones are vasoconstrictive and use in pregnancy may therefore carry similar risks to the fetus as those described for other vasoconstrictive agents such as cocaine. Research is required to determine whether the risk of these adverse events is increased following maternal cathinone use.

The use of cathinones should be avoided during pregnancy; however exposure would not routinely be regarded as medical grounds for termination of pregnancy, but may depend on the individual circumstances of each case. Owing to the lack of evidence regarding the fetal effects of in utero cathinone exposure and its similarity to amfetamines, careful monitoring of the pregnancy and infant, in particular enhanced surveillance of fetal growth, may be advisable.

This document is regularly reviewed and updated. Only use full UKTIS monographs downloaded directly from TOXBASE.org to be sure you are using the most up-to-date version. The summaries of these monographs are openly available on UKTIS.org.

This is a summary of the full UKTIS monograph for health care professionals and should not be used in isolation. The full UKTIS monograph and access to any hyperlinked related documents is available to health care professionals at www.toxbase.org.

If you have a patient with exposure to a drug or chemical and require assistance in making a patient-specific risk assessment, please telephone UKTIS on 0344 892 0909 to discuss the case with a teratology specialist.

If you would like to report a pregnancy to UKTIS please click here to download our pregnancy reporting form. Please encourage all women to complete an online reporting form.

Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that this monograph was accurate and up-to-date at the time of writing, however it cannot cover every eventuality and the information providers cannot be held responsible for any adverse outcomes of the measures recommended. The final decision regarding which treatment is used for an individual patient remains the clinical responsibility of the prescriber. This material may be freely reproduced for education and not for profit purposes within the UK National Health Service, however no linking to this website or reproduction by or for commercial organisations is permitted without the express written permission of this service. This document is regularly reviewed and updated. Only use UKTIS monographs downloaded directly from TOXBASE.org or UKTIS.org to ensure you are using the most up-to-date version.