Benzylpiperazine (Trifluoromethyl-Phenylpiperazine): Physiological effects

Last modified: Thursday, 25. December 2008 - 8:32 am

Contact of BZP with the eyes or skin may cause severe irritation and possible burns. If it is inhaled, it may cause severe irritation of the respiratory tract with sore throat, coughing, and shortness of breath, or even chemical burns. Prolonged respiratory exposure may cause delayed lung effects, including fluid in the lungs with breathing difficulty.

When swallowed, piperazines are readily absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract. They are partially broken down or metabolized by the liver and kidney, and the remainder is excreted in the urine. Because there is a wide variability in the rates of piperazine breakdown and excretion by different individuals, there is also a wide range of toxic effects and doses causing toxicity. Physical effects reported by piperazine users include nausea, vomiting, body flushing, stomach pains, frequent urination, bladder infection or irritation, thirst, dry mouth, severe migraine headache, sensations of skin crawling, dilated pupils, and “hangover” feelings lasting up to two days.

Effects on brain centers controlling movement may be experienced as muscle stiffness, tremor or uncontrollable shaking, jaw clenching, and nervous tics. Like amphetamine, piperazines produce increases in heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature, which can be dangerous or even fatal. At high doses, piperazines may produce hallucinations, seizures or convulsions, and respiratory depression that can cause death.

People who use BZP or TFMPP lose interest in food and may stop eating altogether. After about two weeks on the drug, the effects on food intake and weight loss decrease, and after stopping the drug, there may be a rebound increase in excessive eating and weight gain.

Harmful side effects

Because piperazine abuse is such a recent phenomenon, harmful effects of BZP and TFMPP are not yet well-described, and selective effects in children and women and during pregnancy are still unknown. However, two deaths have already been reported.

Long-term health effects

Government agencies have no well-documented information on the long-term health effects of BZP and TFMPP. According to the Health and Safety Executive of the United Kingdom, piperazines are thought to have significant potential to cause asthma, most likely related to their effects on the immune system, although the mechanism is unclear.

Similar effects of BZP and speed in former addicts, including increased blood pressure and similar short-term mental experiences induced by the drugs, suggest that BZP can be addictive and liable to abuse, especially by former or current addicts of other substances.

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