Piracetam is a positive allosteric modulator of the α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid receptor that has been frequently used in the treatment of cognitive disorders. Press and internet reports indicate that the use of piracetam, as a heroin adulterant, has spread rapidly in some countries, especially in Asia and Europe. Its use, as adulterant, is believed to produce more profound desirable effects, while decreasing hangover. Recent surveys demonstrated that piracetam protects neurons from heroin-induced apoptosis. The protective role of this adulterating substance may be related to restoration of beta-endorphin levels and to its neuroprotective effects. The aim of this paper is to review the relevant literature and suggest the main hypothetical mechanisms that justify its use as a heroin adulterant, try to understand if its use could help people who want to come off heroin by reducing withdrawal symptoms and, finally, give useful information that permit us to understand why drug trafficking organisations started to use piracetam as heroin adulterant.

Heroin-piracetam mixture: suggested mechanisms of action and risks of misinterpretation for drug users / Cappelletti, Simone; Lombardo, Francesco; Vitale, Pasquale; Vallone, Giuseppe; Ciallella, Costantino. - In: THE MEDICO-LEGAL JOURNAL. - ISSN 0025-8172. - STAMPA. - 85:4(2017), pp. 203-206. [10.1177/0025817217717846]

Heroin-piracetam mixture: suggested mechanisms of action and risks of misinterpretation for drug users

CAPPELLETTI, SIMONE;CIALLELLA, Costantino
2017

Abstract

Piracetam is a positive allosteric modulator of the α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid receptor that has been frequently used in the treatment of cognitive disorders. Press and internet reports indicate that the use of piracetam, as a heroin adulterant, has spread rapidly in some countries, especially in Asia and Europe. Its use, as adulterant, is believed to produce more profound desirable effects, while decreasing hangover. Recent surveys demonstrated that piracetam protects neurons from heroin-induced apoptosis. The protective role of this adulterating substance may be related to restoration of beta-endorphin levels and to its neuroprotective effects. The aim of this paper is to review the relevant literature and suggest the main hypothetical mechanisms that justify its use as a heroin adulterant, try to understand if its use could help people who want to come off heroin by reducing withdrawal symptoms and, finally, give useful information that permit us to understand why drug trafficking organisations started to use piracetam as heroin adulterant.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11573/993514
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