Does the “party pill” BZP affect the kidney?

June 30, 2012, 7:44 pm


Nephrotoxicity of recreational party drugs. Berney-Meyer L et al. Nephrology 2012;17:99-103.


Stimulant “party drugs” such as MDMA (ecstasy), N-benzylpiperazine (BZP), and the various ingredients that can be contained in “bath salt” preparations can produce a wide variety of adverse effects, including renal toxicity. Usually these effects are secondary to hyperthermia and hyperactivity, causing rhabdomyolysis and acute renal failure. Hyponatremia and cerebral edema can also occur.

Although the question of nephrotoxic effects caused by drugs of abuse is an interesting one, I found this paper a huge disappointment. In the first place, it does not cover “party drugs” in general, but only BZP and, to a very limited extent,  ecstasy. In addition, the two case reports it presents are so disparate and unfocused, the association between drug exposure and nephrotoxicity so loose, and the actual identity of the drugs involved so unproven,  that the paper provides no real clinical pearls or take-home lessons.

Although beyond the scope of this paper, the authors could have noted that ketamine can cause inflammation, fibrosis, and decreased  compliance of the bladder, and that synthetic cannabinoid preparations have recently been associated with renal failure in patients from Wyoming.

Related posts:

“Legal Highs”: new psychoactive drugs

The science of designer drugs: essential review

“Party pills”: review of BZP and TFMPP


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