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Toxicol Sci. 2010 Mar;114(1):38-47. doi: 10.1093/toxsci/kfp300. Epub 2009 Dec 14.

Population pharmacokinetics of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine and main metabolites in rats.

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Faculté de Pharmacie, Université Paris Descartes, Paris F-75006, France.


The pharmacokinetics of the recreational drug 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) and its mains metabolites have never been modeled together. We therefore designed a model with which to analyze the pharmacokinetics of MDMA, 3,4-methylenedioxyamphetamine (MDA), 4-hydroxy-3-methoxymethamphetamine (HMMA), and 4-hydroxy-3-methoxyamphetamine (HMA) and to test the effect of covariates like gender and body weight on the pharmacokinetics. Rats (18 males and 18 females) were given 1 mg/kg MDMA iv, and the concentrations of MDMA, MDA, and HMMA were measured by high-performance liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry. Another 30 rats (15 males) were given 1 mg/kg MDA, and MDA and HMA were measured. A population pharmacokinetic model was developed to describe the changes in MDMA, HMMA, MDA, and HMA concentrations over time and to estimate interanimal variability. The influence of gender was tested using a likelihood ratio test. Estimated exposures of males and females to MDMA and its metabolites were compared using the Wilcoxon nonparametric test. An integrated six-compartment model adequately described the data. MDMA (two compartments) was transformed irreversible to HMMA (one compartment) and MDA (two compartments), which then produced HMA (one compartment). All rate constants were first order. Females given MDMA had significantly smaller MDMA distribution volumes than males, and they converted less MDMA to MDA than did males. Our MDMA, MDA, HMA, and HMMA model is suitable for examining the relationship between drug concentrations and its pharmacological/toxicological effects. Male rats were exposed to significantly more MDA and HMA than were females, which could explain why males are more sensitive to MDMA toxic effects than females.

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