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School of Medicine Virginia Commonwealth University VCU Medical Center
School of Medicine discoveries

December 19, 2012

Louis De Felice offers perspective for JAMA news article

With the support of a five-year, $2.5 million grant from the National Institute for Drug Abuse, MCV Campus researchers are studying bath salts, a synthetic drug that makes headlines for the strange behaviors that accompany its use.

Louis J. De Felice, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics, recently offered perspective on the drug in a news article published in the Dec. 19 edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

De Felice is one of a trio of MCV Campus researchers studying the combined activity of the two main active ingredients in bath salts: Methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV) and mephedrone. He told the JAMA interviewer: “MDPV is more potent than cocaine almost by a factor of 10, and when it binds to dopamine transporters, it doesn’t let go when you take the drug away, which is unlike cocaine.”

De Felice is pursuing NIH-funded research on bath salts in collaborations with Pharmacology and Toxicology’s Steve Negus, Ph.D., and Richard A. Glennon, Ph.D., chairman of the School of Pharmacy’s Department of Medicinal Chemistry.

Read the JAMA article: A Trip on “Bath Salts” Is Cheaper Than Meth or Cocaine But Much More Dangerous.