Abuse of the stimulant designer drug methylone (methylenedioxymethcathinone) has been documented in most parts of the world. As with many of the new designer drugs that continuously appear in the illicit drug market, little is known about the pharmacokinetics of methylone. Using in vitro studies, CYP2D6 was determined to be the primary enzyme that metabolizes methylone, with minor contributions from CYP1A2, CYP2B6, and CYP2C19. The major metabolite was identified as dihydroxymethcathinone, and the minor metabolites were N-hydroxy-methylone, nor-methylone, and dihydro-methylone. Measuring the formation of the major metabolite, biphasic Michaelis-Menten kinetic parameters were determined: V(max,1) = 0.046 ± 0.005 (S.E.) nmol/min/mg protein, K(m,1) = 19.0 ± 4.2 μM, V(max,2) = 0.22 ± 0.04 nmol/min/mg protein, and K(m,2) = 1953 ± 761 μM; the low-capacity and high-affinity contribution was assigned to the activity of CYP2D6. Additionally, a time-dependent loss of CYP2D6 activity was observed when the enzyme was preincubated with methylone, reaching a maximum rate of inactivation at high methylone concentrations, indicating that methylone is a mechanism-based inhibitor of CYP2D6. The inactivation parameters were determined to be K(I) = 15.1 ± 3.4 (S.E.) μM and k(inact) = 0.075 ± 0.005 minute(-1).
Drug Metabolism and Disposition, 2013, Vol 41, Issue 6, p. 1247-55