It was first experimented with in the 1960s by The Upjohn Company (now a subsidiary of Pfizer Pharmaceuticals) but the results were disappointing and interest was soon dropped. It continued to be marketed for some time in the Soviet Union under the trade name Indopan but had fallen out of use by the 1970s.

As a recreational drug its use remained very marginal from the 1960s-90s, when it experienced an upsurge in popularity linked to the clubbing scene and other stimulant-type drugs associated with that subculture. It was deemed significant enough to be scheduled in the US in 2003 but due to remaining relatively uncommon in Europe remained uncontrolled in the UK until 2015.