Ethylphenidate: characteristics and side effects of this substance

Ethylphenidate is a substance with stimulating effects which generates a series of effects in the consumer such as euphoria or improved mood, characteristic of other exciting drugs such as amphetamines or cocaine.

In this article we tell you what is ethylphenidate and what effects it causes, What is its mechanism of action and the doses used, as well as the contraindications and side effects after consumption.

    What is ethylphenidate and what effects does it have?

    Ethylphenidate or ethyl ester of ritalinic acid is a stimulating compound of the piperidine group. This drug was considered a “research chemical” (Which we will talk about later), an investigative chemical that is not controlled by authorities and which, being analogous to others than yes they are, can be considered illegal use. At least until recently.

    Although it is a closely related analogue, it should not be confused with methylphenidate, A drug commonly used to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (under the trade names Ritalin or Concerta, in the long-acting version).

    habitually this medication is used in recreational settings (Alternatively, sometimes to other prohibited stimulant drugs, such as cocaine) looking for effects such as euphoria, alertness, elevated mood, or improved mood.

    Regarding the legal status of this substance, the Ministry of Health has put in place the legal mechanisms to include ethylphenidate in the list of psychotropic substances, considering that it has no therapeutic utility and that its use would pose a risk to public health. It is currently on List II of psychotropic substances subject to international control.

      Mechanism of action and dose

      The most common routes of administration for ethylphenidate are nasal (sniffing) and intravenous, although it can also be taken orally, smoked or rectally. The intravenous route produces the most powerful and immediate effects, while the nasal route is the most common in playful settings, reducing the stimulating “surge” and prolonging it over time.

      ethylphenidate works by inhibiting absorption of presynaptic amine, inhibiting monoamine transporters (As the transporter of dopamine and norepinephrine), thereby increasing the level of these neurotransmitters in synapses and the brain.

      this substance has greater dopaminergic selectivity, With a 16-fold higher affinity for dopamine transport proteins than for norepinephrine, suggesting that it generates a greater euphoria effect, as well as less anxiety and lower sympathomimetic effects (such as as increased heart rate or blood pressure) its analogue of methylphenidate.

      Usual doses for intranasal recreational use are generally around 25 and 50 mg, and 50 to 75 mg as the highest dose, also increasing side effects.

      There is also a less playful consumption and more focus on work or artistic production. in which the user redoses every three or four hours, with oral doses between 2 and 5 mg, in order to enjoy the stimulating effects (very similar to those of one or two coffees) without taking the side effects of the bill that might be expected from consumption patterns or higher doses.


      Consumption of ethylphenidate and, in general, any psychostimulant substance with sympathomimetic effects (which acts as an agonist on the sympathetic nervous system) it is contraindicated in people with any of the conditions:

      • Hypersensitivity to ethylphenidate.
      • Glaucoma.
      • If you are being treated with irreversible and non-selective monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) or within 14 days of stopping treatment, taking into account the risk of a possible hypertensive crisis.
      • Hyperthyroidism or thyrotoxicosis.
      • Diagnosis or history of severe depression, anorexia, suicidal tendencies, psychotic symptoms, severe mood disorders, schizophrenia or personality disorders.
      • Diagnosis or history of severe, episodic bipolar disorder.
      • Pre-existing cardiovascular disorders, including severe hypertension, heart failure, occlusive arterial disease, angina, congenital heart disease, cardiomyopathy, myocardial infarction, arrhythmias and channelopathies.
      • Pre-existing cerebrovascular disorders (for example: cerebral aneurysm, vascular abnormalities and strokes).

      Side effects and adverse reactions

      Ethylphenidate, like similar stimulant compounds, it can cause a series of unwanted or side effects in those who consume it, Which are said to be the same as those produced when consuming methylphenidate.

      However, in the case of a relatively new substance, the effects of its continued and long-term use are not yet entirely clearCaution is therefore always required in this regard.

      It should also be borne in mind that, being a recreational substance, consumption by intranasal route may cause lesions of the nostrils or bleeding.

      However, enter the most common side effects are:

      • anxiety
      • Paranoia
      • insomnia
      • Bruxism
      • Sweating and tachycardia
      • arterial hypertension
      • chest pain
      • Nausea and vomiting
      • visual hallucinations
      • Loss of appetite and weight
      • Heat stroke or hyperthermia

      “Chemical research”

      The term “research chemicals” refers to all research chemicals or psychoactive substances which have not been internationally controlled and which are generally sold through channels other than conventional drugs (eg on the Internet). . They can also be called “new psychoactive substances”., Although some were synthesized decades ago.

      These substances appear on the drug market at some point and are generally novel in their availability, mechanism of action or synthesis. Often, the underground chemists who manufacture these new molecules are based on already known drugs. and what they do is modify their chemical structure to attenuate or potentiate certain desired effects.

      Many of these compounds have been sold and are now being sold on websites in Asian countries, with strange trade names and the appearance of “bath salts” or incense, still under the label they are not. suitable for human consumption, because there are sellers who do not have legal problems in some countries.

      Bibliographical references:

      • Ho, JH, Bailey, GP, Archer, JR, Dargan, PI and Wood, DM (2015). Ethylphenidate: availability, modes of use and acute effects of this new psychoactive substance. European Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, 71 (10), 1185-1196.
      • Krueger, J., Sachs, H., Musshoff, F., Dame, T., Schaeper, J., Schwerer, M., … and Roider, G. (2014). First detection of ethylphenidate in human deaths after ingestion of ethylphenidate. International Forensic Science, 243, 126-129.

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