Ethcathinone, alternatively recognized as ethylpropion or ETH-CAT, falls within the category of stimulant drugs in the phenethylamine, amphetamine, and cathinone chemical classes. It serves as the primary active metabolite of the prodrug diethylcathinone, solely responsible for producing its effects. Ethcathinone has been detected as a component in quasi-legal “party pills.” Moreover, it has occasionally been found alongside mephedrone, masquerading as “ecstasy” in the Australian city of Cairns.

IUPAC name
CAS Number18259-37-5 hydrochloride: 51553-17-4 
PubChem CID458519
UNIIHV3BCK77BBhydrochloride: SQ59TT7X5R 
CompTox Dashboard (EPA)DTXSID70939595
Chemical and physical data
Molar mass177.247 g·mol−1


The pharmacological profile of ethcathinone was initially outlined in a study by Rothman and Baumann in 2006, where it was compared to various other psychostimulants. Ethcathinone primarily operates through two key mechanisms. It acts as a moderately active noradrenaline releaser (with an EC50 of 99.3nM), but it only exhibits relatively weak inhibition of dopamine reuptake (Ki of 1,014nM).
Interestingly, the prodrug diethylcathinone appears inactive and only becomes pharmacologically active after being metabolized into ethcathinone. This suggests that ethcathinone may undergo N-dealkylation upon consumption, potentially transforming into the more potent drug cathinone, known for its ability to stimulate dopamine release reliably. However, there is a debate surrounding whether ethcathinone should be categorized as a prodrug, as some stringent definitions exclude it due to its inherent pharmacological activity, akin to substances like tramadol, codeine, and MDMA.

Legal status

On December 18, 2008, Denmark banned Ethcathinone alongside mephedrone and mephedrone.
Effective since October 2015, China has classified Ethcathinone as a controlled substance.
In the United States, this compound is prohibited due to its structural similarity to mephedrone.


1. What is Ethcathinone?

Ethcathinone is a synthetic stimulant drug in the cathinone class of chemicals. It is chemically related to amphetamines and shares some similarities with other designer drugs.

2. Is Ethcathinone legal?

The legal status of Ethcathinone varies by country and jurisdiction. It is classified as a controlled substance in many places, making its possession and distribution illegal. Always check your local and national drug laws to determine their legality.

3. How is Ethcathinone typically used?

Ethcathinone is often found in powder form and is typically ingested orally or through other routes, such as insufflation (snorting). However, its use is associated with various health risks and is generally discouraged.

4. What are the effects of Ethcathinone?

Ethcathinone is known for its stimulant effects, including increased energy, alertness, and euphoria. Users have reported effects similar to those of other amphetamine-like substances. However, it can also lead to negative side effects and health risks.

5. Are there health risks associated with Ethcathinone use?

Yes, using Ethcathinone can pose significant health risks. Users may experience side effects such as increased heart rate, elevated blood pressure, anxiety, paranoia, and potential addiction or dependence with prolonged or heavy use. There is also a risk of overdose.

6. Can Ethcathinone be addictive?

Like many other stimulant drugs, Ethcathinone has the potential for addiction and dependence, especially with frequent or heavy use. Users should be aware of the risk and take precautions.

7. Why is Ethcathinone banned in some countries?

Like other synthetic cathinones, Ethcathinone has been banned in various countries due to potential health risks and abuse concerns. It may be classified as a controlled substance because of its psychoactive effects and misuse potential.

8. How can the risks associated with Ethcathinone use be reduced?

The best way to reduce the risks associated with Ethcathinone is to avoid using it altogether. If someone does choose to use it, it is essential to be informed about potential dangers, use it in moderation, and avoid combining it with other substances. Additionally, harm reduction strategies and a support system are crucial.

9. Are there any treatment options for Ethcathinone addiction?

Treatment options for Ethcathinone addiction may include counseling, therapy, and support groups. If you or someone you know is struggling with Ethcathinone addiction, seek help from healthcare professionals or addiction support services.

10. Where can I find more information about Ethcathinone?

Consider consulting medical professionals, addiction support organizations, or drug education resources for more information about Ethcathinone. Always prioritize your health and safety when considering substance use and seek assistance.


  1. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) officially listed Ethcathinone as a controlled substance under the Controlled Substances Act, with an effective date of July 21, 2015.
  2. The Brazilian health regulatory agency, Anvisa, updated its regulations regarding controlled substances on July 24, 2023. This is documented in “RDC Nº 804 – Listas de Substâncias Entorpecentes, Psicotrópicas, Precursoras e Outras sob Controle Especial” [Collegiate Board Resolution No. 804 – Lists of Narcotic, Psychotropic, Precursor, and Other Substances under Special Control], published in the Diário Oficial da União on July 25, 2023. The information can be accessed in Brazilian Portuguese, and the original document is archived since August 27, 2023.
  3. In a chemical analysis conducted in April 2010, Camilleri, Johnston, Brennan, Davis, and Caldicott examined capsules containing controlled substance analogs, which included Ethcathinone. The research was documented in “Forensic Science International,” Volume 197, Issue 1–3, with pages 59–66. The study’s DOI is 10.1016/j.forsciint.2009.12.048, and the PMID is 20074881.
  4. Reports from Cairns highlighted the presence of dangerous pills, including those containing Ethcathinone. However, the source linking to this information is no longer accessible.
  5. Law enforcement agencies have issued warnings about the potential fatal consequences of consuming “fake ecstasy” pills that may contain substances like Ethcathinone.
  6. Rothman and Baumann discussed the therapeutic potential of monoamine transporter substrates in their 2006 study, which included an analysis of Ethcathinone’s properties. The study is published in “Current Topics in Medicinal Chemistry,” Volume 6, Issue 17, spanning pages 1845–59. The DOI is 10.2174/156802606778249766, and the PMID is 17017961.
  7. In China, on September 27, 2015, the China Food and Drug Administration released a notification in Chinese, titled “关于印发《非药用类麻醉药品和精神药品列管办法》的通知” (in Chinese), which outlines the regulation of non-medicinal narcotic drugs and psychotropic drugs, including substances like Ethcathinone. This information is based on the original document, which was archived since October 1, 2015.
  8. Another DEA listing under the Controlled Substances Act was dated July 21, 2015, further emphasizing the regulatory control placed on Ethcathinone.

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