Novel Psychoactive Substances: the pharmacology of stimulants and hallucinogens

Fabrizio Schifano, Duccio Papanti, Laura Orsolini, John Corkery

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)
70 Downloads (Pure)


There are increasing levels of concern relating to the rapidly evolving novel psychoactive substances/NPS and web markets’ scenarios. The paper aims at providing an overview of the clinical pharmacological issues related to some of the most popular NPS categories, e.g. stimulants and hallucinogens. NPS intake is typically associated with the imbalance of a complex range of neurotransmitter pathways/receptors, namely: dopamine; cannabinoid/CB1; and 5-HT2A. The intake is almost invariably undetectable with standard screening tests. Hence, it may frequently occur that the acute management of NPS misusers will need to focus on decreasing levels of both self/outward-directed aggression and agitation. Benzodiazepines may be considered as first line treatment. Alternatively, propofol and/or antipsychotics can be administered. Focus will be as well on treatment of possible rhabdomyolysis and hyperthermia. Indeed, future studies should inform better tailored management/treatment strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)943-54
Number of pages12
JournalExpert Review of Clinical Pharmacology
Issue number7
Early online date4 Apr 2016
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jul 2016


  • Novel Psychoactive Substances
  • Synthetic cannabimimetics
  • Synthetic cathinones
  • Hallucinogenic drugs
  • Phenethylamines
  • Psychiatric disturbances
  • Drug misuse


Dive into the research topics of 'Novel Psychoactive Substances: the pharmacology of stimulants and hallucinogens'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this