The active substance of Promotil® was a pyrrolidine derivative acting as a central stimulating agent. The drug  (1-phenyl-2-pyrrolidino-pentane, hydrochloride salt), was used to treat neurotic depressive states in adults, or to combat mental fatigue and nervous exhaustion. The compound is considered as an antiasthenic agent, useful to stimulate mental functions in cases of mild depression, mental overwork or senile mental deterioration. In fact, the compound is a norepinephrine-dopamine reuptake inhibitor, initially developed in the 1950s and better known as prolintane, or under the trade-name Katovit® in some countries. The drug has been used more than 30 years (until 2001), as a stimulant to provide energy, to promote alertness and concentration.

Beside its medical applications, the drug has been popular at rave parties (all-night dance parties based on “techno” music) in Europe, acting as an analogue of d-amphetamine. This “rave drug” presents stimulant effects but overdoses may cause hallucinations, psychosis, hypertension, hyperthermia and death. Of course, the use of 1-phenyl-2-pyrrolidino-pentane as a doping agent in athletics is strictly forbidden (but has been observed), the compound being prohibited by the World Anti-Doping Agency.


The illustration highlighted the central effect of the drug, which was designated the drug of “the whole man”, probably with reference to Karl Max’s theory of human nature. A clever way to shining a light on a new drug and the associated diseases or conditions.

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