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MXE is reported to have a similar effect to ketamine. It was often believed to possess opioid properties due to its structural similarity to 3-HO-PCP, but this assumption is not supported by data, which shows insignificant affinity for the µ-opioid receptor by the compound. Recreational use of MXE has been associated with hospitalizations from high and/or combined consumption in the US and UK. Acute reversible cerebellar toxicity has been documented in three cases of hospital admission due to MXE overdose, lasting for between one and four days after exposure.
MXE was designed in part in an attempt to avoid the urotoxicity associated with ketamine abuse; it was thought the compound's increased potency and reduced dose would limit the accumulation of urotoxic metabolites in the bladder. Like ketamine, MXE has been found to produce bladder inflammation and fibrosis after high dose, chronic administration in mice (although the dosages used were quite large). Reports of urotoxicity in humans have yet to appear in the medical literature.
MXE hydrochloride is soluble in ethanol up to 10 mg/ml at 25 °C.
Detection in body fluids
A forensic standard of MXE is available, and the compound has been posted on the Forendex website of potential drugs of abuse.
The qualitative effects of MXE were first described online in May 2010 and the compound became commercially available on a small scale in September 2010, by November use and sale of the MXE had increased enough for it to be formally identified by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction. By July 2011, the EMCDDA had identified 58 websites selling the compound at a cost of 145-195 euros for 10 grams.
Society and culture
Mixmag reported in January 2012, that people in the dance music and clubbing community have given MXE the slang name 'roflcoptr'.Vice commented that it was likely that the phrase will only be used by "the same politicians, parents and journalists" who called mephedrone 'meow meow'. After being called mexxy in UK Home Office press releases, the media adopted the name.
A literature review was published in March 2012 which looked at scientific literature and information on the web. It concluded that "the online availability of information on novel psychoactive drugs, such as MXE, may constitute a pressing public health challenge. Better international collaboration levels and novel forms of intervention are necessary to tackle this fast-growing phenomenon."
MXE is one of a few substances which has been controlled under the UN 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances since its inception. It was made a schedule 2 drug in November 2016. It is a rare example of a drug being put into schedule II without having an existing medical use.
MXE became classified as a narcotic in Brazil in February 2014 .
As of October 2015 MXE is a controlled substance in China.
Theresa May commented in her reply to the ACMD that "the next step in this process is for the ACMD to undertake a full assessment of MXE for consideration for its permanent control under the 1971 Act." She goes on to say that she hopes the ACMD will do this as a part of the review of ketamine, "including its analogues" and that this review will be completed "within the 12 months from the making of the current order".
On 18 October 2012 the ACMD released a report about MXE, saying that the "harms of methoxetamine are commensurate with Class B of the Misuse of Drugs Act (1971)", despite the fact that the act does not classify drugs based on harm. The report went on to suggest that all analogues of MXE should also become class B drugs and suggested a catch-all clause covering both existing and unresearched arylcyclohexamines.
MXE ceased to be covered by the temporary prohibition on 26 February 2013, when it became classified as a Class B drug.
MXE is not scheduled at the federal level in the United States, but it is possible that it could be considered an analog of PCE, in which case purchase, sales, or possession could be prosecuted under the Federal Analog Act. In September 2015, a bill was introduced into Congress that sought to make MXE a Schedule I substance.
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