Home > Old drugs and new challenges: a narrative review of nitazenes.

Pergolizzi, Joseph and Raffa, Robert and LeQuang, Jo Ann K and Breve, Frank and Varrassi, Giustino (2023) Old drugs and new challenges: a narrative review of nitazenes. Cureus, 15, (6), e40736. doi: 10.7759/cureus.40736.

External website: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10361...

Nitazenes are a group of compounds developed in the 1950s as opioid analgesics, but they were never approved to market. As such, they are not well known outside of academic research laboratories. A characteristic of nitazenes is their high potency (e.g., hundreds to thousands fold more potent than morphine and other opioids and tenfold more potent than fentanyl). In the past few years, several nitazenes, including "designer analogs," have been detected in the illicit drug supply and have been implicated in overdose mortality, primarily due to their exceptionally high potency. In the street drug supply, nitazenes are often found mixed with fentanyl or other agents but their presence is not always disclosed to drug buyers, who may not even be familiar with nitazenes. These drugs pose a particular challenge since there is little experience in how to reverse a nitazene overdose or potential drug-drug or drug-alcohol interactions. Public health efforts are needed to better inform street drug consumers, first responders, healthcare professionals, and the general public about these "new old drugs" that are infiltrating the recreational drug supply.

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