Assessment of the opiate properties of two
constituents of a toxic illicit drug mixture

Johannessen JN, Markey SP.
Drug Alcohol Depend 1984 Jul;13(4):367-74


The intravenous use of an illicit synthetic drug preparation has caused permanent parkinsonism in a number of addicts. Chemical analysis has revealed the ingredients to be two related compounds 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP) and 1-methyl-4-phenyl-4-propionoxypiperidine (MPPP). The opiate properties of these two compounds have been assessed using in vitro receptor binding techniques as well as behavioral tests indicative of opiate action, including analgesia, catatonia, respiratory depression and the loss of righting and corneal reflexes. All opiate activity was found to reside with MPPP, which proved to be a potent mu-type agonist. It is concluded that the opiate properties of MPPP alone explain repeated abuse of MPTP/MPPP mixtures by heroin addicts.
Designer drugs
Opioid receptors
Meperidine: structure
MPP+ and Parkinsonism

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