Display Settings:

Format

Send to:

Choose Destination
We are sorry, but NCBI web applications do not support your browser and may not function properly. More information
Pharmacol Rev. 2003 Sep;55(3):463-508. Epub 2003 Jul 17.

The pharmacology and clinical pharmacology of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA, "ecstasy").

Author information

  • 1AstraZeneca R&D Charnwood, Loughborough, LE11 5RH, UK. richard.green@astrazeneca.com

Abstract

The amphetamine derivative (+/-)-3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA, ecstasy) is a popular recreational drug among young people, particularly those involved in the dance culture. MDMA produces an acute, rapid enhancement in the release of both serotonin (5-HT) and dopamine from nerve endings in the brains of experimental animals. It produces increased locomotor activity and the serotonin behavioral syndrome in rats. Crucially, it produces dose-dependent hyperthermia that is potentially fatal in rodents, primates, and humans. Some recovery of 5-HT stores can be seen within 24 h of MDMA administration. However, cerebral 5-HT concentrations then decline due to specific neurotoxic damage to 5-HT nerve endings in the forebrain. This neurodegeneration, which has been demonstrated both biochemically and histologically, lasts for months in rats and years in primates. In general, other neurotransmitters appear unaffected. In contrast, MDMA produces a selective long-term loss of dopamine nerve endings in mice. Studies on the mechanisms involved in the neurotoxicity in both rats and mice implicate the formation of tissue-damaging free radicals. Increased free radical formation may result from the further breakdown of MDMA metabolic products. Evidence for the occurrence of MDMA-induced neurotoxic damage in human users remains equivocal, although some biochemical and functional data suggest that damage may occur in the brains of heavy users. There is also some evidence for long-term physiological and psychological changes occurring in human recreational users. However, such evidence is complicated by the lack of knowledge of doses ingested and the fact that many subjects studied are or have been poly-drug users.

PMID:
12869661
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

0 comments
How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk