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Systematic name Methaqualone
Chemical formula C16H14N20
Molecular mass 250.3 g/mol
Density 1.2 g/cm3
Melting point 120°C (386.15 K)
Boiling point 406.9°C (680.05 K)
CAS number [72-44-6][1]
Disclaimer and references


Methaqualone was a drug originally created with the purpose of fighting malaria.[1]Because of severe abuse of the drug, several countries stopped prescribing it to people. It actually helped fuel a major drug epidemic in the United States in the 1960’s and 1970’s.Its effects on humans are similar to the barbiturates that it was also meant to replace. It makes people very relaxed. It became so popular that it earned a large variety of street names. Most of the names originated when it was popular, in the disco era. [2]Some of the names include: 714s, Bandits, Buttons, Disco Biscuits, Flamingos, Flowers, Gorilla Biscuits, Lemmon 7s, Lemmon 714s, Lemons, Lennons, Mandies , Mandrake , Mandrax, Mind Peelers, Q, Qua, Quaa, Quack, Quad, Qualudes, Quay, Sleepers, Soaper, Soaps, The Love Drug, Vitamin Q, Wagon Wheels And White Pipe.[3]



Methaqualone contains 16 carbon atoms, 14 hydrogen atoms and 20 nitrogen atoms. Its chemical formula is C16H14N20. Its scientific name is 2-methyl-3-(2-methylphenyl)-4(3H)-quinazolinone. Methaqualone is an organic compound that is in the quinazolinone class. A quinazolinone is shaped in a bicyclic structure that has a phenyl ring bonded to an additional six-membered ring with two nitrogen atoms and a ketone group bonded to R4. Methaqualone blocks GABA sensors, but it does not do it in the same way that barbiturates and benzodiazepines do even though it was previously grouped together with them. It affects neurotransmitter gamma aminobutyric acid, known as GABA, in the brain by binding to the GABA receptors. It inhibits the GABA re3ceptos and causes a person to feel calm and sedated.[4]


Methaqualone is a white powder or greyish white power. It is also that is crystalline. It has almost no detectable odor. It has an unsweetened and bitter flavor. Its melting point is 120 Celsius and its boiling point is 409.6 Celsius. It is not completely soluble in water. It is a stable compound. There is no danger exposing it to light or to air. It does emit toxic nitric and oxide fumes when it is heated to high temperatures. [5]


Methaqualone synthesis

In the year 1950, in the country of India, Methaqualone was synthesized for the first time. [6]It was synthesized in the country of India by Indra Kishore Kacker and Syed Husain Zaheer.[1] When methaqualone was first synthesized, phosphorus pentachloride was used as a condensing agent in the reaction. The condensing agent caused a dangerous HCL gas to form.Today, polyphosphoric acid is used instead of phosphorous pentachloride in reactions that require a condensing agent to form methaqualone.There are several ways that methaqualone can be synthesized, some of which still produce the dangerous HCL gas. Methaqualone can be synthesized from anthranilic acid, N-acetylanthranilic acid, isatoic anhydride and other compounds. There are also several ways to synthesize methaqualone from each of the previously mentioned compounds.. Most of the methods of synthesis involve the compound toluidine or some form of the compound.[7]

There are two methods to synthesize methaqualone from isatoic anhydride. The first method involves mixing a solution of isatoic anhydride and o-toluidine and heating them up for about two hours. The solid that results from the reaction is collected and then an ether its used as to make a powder out of the solid. The powder is then crystallized and mixed with dichloromethane and petroleum ether to get a 75 percent yield of methaqualone after the separation of the compounds .The other way to synthesize the drug using isatoic anhydride is to reflux [7],heat up a solution, condense the vapor and have the vapor flow back into the container,[8] a mixture of isatoic anhydride and o-toluidine in the compound toluidine and add acetylacetone with a few milliliters of hydrochloric acid. The evaporated solvent yields methaqualone hydrochloride which is then purified and produces an 80 percent yield of methaqualone.[7]

There are two ways to produce methaqualone using anthranilic acid and there is one way to synthesizes methaloquone from N-acetylanthranilic acid. The first method to synthesize methaqualone from anthranilic acid is to first mix anthranilic Acid, o-Toluidine and glacial acetic acid. Then, slowly heat up the mixture to 140-160 degrees Celcius for thirty minutes, while slowly polyphosphoric acid to the mixture. The mixture is cooled, poured into water and mixed with sodium carbonate to neutralize it. Methanol is added, the free base methaqualone is precipitated and crystallized and the yield is about 70 percent. The other method to synthesize methaqualone from anthranilic acid is to simultaneously distill and raise the temperature of anthranilic Acid dissolved in acetic anhydride and remove any traces of acetic acid from the solution after the temperature reaches 200 degrees celsius. After cooling, o-toluidine is added and the once again the temperature is raised to 200 degrees celcius and the solution is distilled.[7]


When it was being synthesized it had the original purpose to help fight malaria, but this did not happen. After it was synthesized it sedating properties were discovered and it began to be used as a sedative. [2]It can be used as a sedative because it blocks GABA receptors. When a person’s GABA receptors are blocked they are very relaxed and unconcerned with their surroundings. [9] If it is taken in high doses it can cause a feeling of euphoria. After it began being sold it became one of the bestselling sedatives and sleep aid in the 1970’s in the United States.[2] Actually in the year of 1972 it was the most prescribed sedative in the United states.[6]It was also prescribed for people with anxiety. It is also used to be used as anesthesia. [10]. In the 60’s and 70’s it began to be used recreationally and it contributed to the drug problem that was going on in the United States. [2]

Drug Abuse

Quaalude pills

Although the drug was originally going to be used for a good purpose, to treat malaria, people began to abuse the drug.[1]The drug first began to be legally prescribed in the 1960’s and 1970’s. methaqualone was being prescribed in several countries under different names for different purposes. In the UK and South Africa, it was being prescribed under the names Malsed, Malsedin, Renoval, and Mandrax. It was also legally prescribed in Canada and the U.S. and known as Quaalude. [10]. The drug then started to be used for recreational purposes and began to be made and sold illegally. It became especially popular in the 70’s. It earned a reputation as a club drug because of its relaxation effects. It even earned the nickname “love drug”. It was often taken in disco parties in the United States and gained another nickname, “disco biscuits”. It was one of the main drugs that helped fuel the drug epidemic in the U.S. in the 60’s and 70’s. [2]

Even though methaqualone can make a person feel temporary positive feelings, it also has several downsides. First-time takers of Quaalude can have heart complications or even enter a coma. Even at the low doses it was being prescribed it could cause dangerous complications. If a dose of the drug is lethal depends on the tolerance of the user. If someone has been using the drug for a long period of time it would take a larger amount of the drug for a dose to be lethal. Users can become easily addicted to the drug. The withdrawal from methaqualone can be deadly. They are many of the symptoms associated with withdrawal from barbiturates and alcohol. The side effects of withdrawal include Anxiety, Restlessness, Insomnia, Tremors, Dizziness, Seizures, Psychosis and even death. If a user overdoses on the drug they can experience cardiac arrest, violent seizures, or a stroke. [2]




  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Methaqualone Wikipedia. Web. last-modified 27 April 2018 Author unknown
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Quaalude Effects: The Drug Epidemic of the 1970s last modified 6 October 2017
  3. Quaalude (Methaqualone) a1b2c3.come. Web. accessed 7 June 2018. Author Unknown
  4. Methaqualone Web. last edited on 29 May 2018 Author Unknown
  5. Methaqualone National Center for Biotechnology Information. Web. 7 June 2018. Author Unknown
  6. 6.0 6.1 Quaaludes Web. last-modified 11 November 2010. Author Unknown
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Rhodium Methaqualone (Quaalude) Synthesis Web. last=modified on May 2005
  8. Definition of 'reflux''. Web. last=modified 2018 Author Unknown
  9. Methaqualone Web. last edited on 29 May 2018 Author Unknown
  10. 10.0 10.1 Quaaludes last accessed 6 June 2018