Lullaby of Bromo-Dragonfly
Dr Michelle Muscat
Bromo-Dragonfly, also called bromo-benzodifuranil-isopropylamine, is a psychedelic designer drug synthesized by Matthew A. Parker in the laboratory of David E. Nichols at Purdue University in 1998. This drug was first synthesized as a new research probe to investigate central nervous system serotonin receptor structure and activity. Although it was not originally intended for human consumption, it has subsequently been used for recreational purposes.1 It is a powerful 5-HT2A receptor agonist. This benzodifuran derivative is a strong hallucinogen,2 similar to LSD but with prolonged duration of action and possible intense hallucination visuals. Heterogeneous effects amongst individuals may be experienced even with the same dose. Overall it is said to be a third as potent as LSD on a weight for weight basis. The drug inhibits monoamine oxidase A.3
The name of this compound comes from the fact that its chemical structure is said to resemble a dragonfly. The R stereoisomer is the stronger compound. Bromo-Dragonfly misuse potential is high.4 Overdoses have potential for toxicity and lethality.5 It is a strong vasoconstrictor and this effect can lead to limb necrosis. Psychoactive drug poisonings have also been described.6,7 A case report by Nielsen et al. describes the development of acute psychosis,8 whilst Wood et al. have reported delayed-onset seizures when the drug was taken in combination with ketamine and cannabis.9
Drug formulations include powder, pills, and it may also be sold as impregnated blotter sheets.
- O’Connor RE, Keating JJ. Characterization of synthetic routes to ‘Bromo-DragonFLY’ and benzodifuranyl isopropylamine homologues utilizing ketone intermediates. Part 1: synthesis of ketone precursors. Drug testing and analysis. 2014;6(7-8):658-67.
- Smith G, Cotton MS, Wermuth UD, et al. Crystallographic characterization of the first reported crystalline form of the potent hallucinogen (R)-2-amino-1-(8-bromobenzo[1,2-b;5,4-b’]difuran-4-yl)propane or ‘bromodragonfly’: the 1:1 anhydrous proton-transfer compound with 3,5-dinitrosalicylic acid. Acta crystallographica Section C, Crystal structure communications. 2010;66(Pt 5):o252-5.
- Noble C, Holm NB, Mardal M, et al. Bromo-dragonfly, a psychoactive benzodifuran, is resistant to hepatic metabolism and potently inhibits monoamine oxidase A. Toxicology letters. 2018;295:397-407.
- Corazza O, Schifano F, Farre M, et al. Designer drugs on the internet: a phenomenon out-of-control? the emergence of hallucinogenic drug Bromo-Dragonfly. Current clinical pharmacology. 2011;6(2):125-9.
- Andreasen MF, Telving R, Birkler RI, et al. A fatal poisoning involving Bromo-Dragonfly. Forensic science international. 2009;183(1-3):91-6.
- Iwersen-Bergmann S, Lehmann S, Heinemann A, et al. Mass poisoning with NPS: 2C-E and Bromo-DragonFly. International journal of legal medicine. 2019;133(1):123-9.
- Iwersen-Bergmann S, Lehmann S, Heinemann A, et al. Correction to: Mass poisoning with NPS: 2C-E and Bromo-DragonFly. International journal of legal medicine. 2019;133(1):131.
- Nielsen VT, Hogberg LC, Behrens JK. [Bromo-Dragonfly poisoning of 18-year-old male]. Ugeskrift for laeger. 2010;172(19):1461-2.
- Wood DM, Looker JJ, Shaikh L, et al. Delayed onset of seizures and toxicity associated with recreational use of Bromo-dragonFLY. Journal of medical toxicology : official journal of the American College of Medical Toxicology. 2009;5(4):226-9.