W-18: The Deadliest Designer Drug Ever?

W-18 sounds like it is should belong in a hardware store for use as a lubricant but it is nothing of the sort. It may in fact be one of the most potent analgesics ever invented – that almost no one has heard about. Even when highly diluted it has the potential for being particularly lethal.

What is W-18?

Very little is known about this compound. It has been described as opioid like but its mode of action is not like that of more commonly known opioids such as morphine.  It has also made the news lately where it was found mixed with fentanyl, with tragic consequences.

The Wikipedia article on W-18 alludes to a test which indicates it is 10,000 more powerful, in some respects, than morphine. You can see many of the heavily prescribed painkillers such as oxycodone are similar to morphine. W-18 more closely resembles fentanyl.

Some common painkillers from basic pain relief to potential killers.
Some common painkillers from basic to major pain relief. One of the most potent, Fentanyl, is shown at the bottom right. Compared to W-18, it barely registers. Thanks to Andy Brunning of Compound Chem for permission to use this infographic.

W-18 Molecule in Stereo

You can make a model of W-18 with our 3D Molecular Model Builder but you will need to enter the SMILES descriptor for it: O=N(C1=CC=C(CCN2CCCC/C2=N\S(=O)(C3=CC=C(Cl)C=C3)=O)C=C1)=O.


About Stephan Logan

VP Sales & Marketing at Indigo Instruments. Previously sold hi tech science instruments to researchers. B.Sc. & M.Sc. from McGill University.

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