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Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA)

(Ecstasy)

By

Gerald F. O’Malley

, DO, Grand Strand Regional Medical Center;


Rika O’Malley

, MD, Albert Einstein Medical Center

Last full review/revision Jun 2020| Content last modified Jun 2020
Click here for the Professional Version

Symptoms

MDMA causes excitement and disinhibition (a loosening of control over behaviors). It also accentuates physical sensation, empathy, and feelings of interpersonal closeness. Toxic effects are similar to those of the other amphetamines but are less common, perhaps because people are more likely to use MDMA intermittently. However, even with casual use, significant problems such as hyperthermia Serotonin Syndrome Serotonin syndrome is a potentially life-threatening drug reaction that tends to cause high body temperature, muscle spasms, and anxiety or delirium. Serotonin is a chemical that transmits impulses... read more and hyponatremia Hyponatremia (Low Level of Sodium in the Blood) In hyponatremia, the level of sodium in blood is too low. A low sodium level has many causes, including consumption of too many fluids, kidney failure, heart failure, cirrhosis, and use of diuretics... read more (abnormally low levels of sodium in the blood) may occur. The effects of intermittent, occasional use are uncertain. Rarely, liver failure Liver Failure Liver failure is severe deterioration in liver function. Liver failure is caused by a disorder or substance that damages the liver. Most people have jaundice (yellow skin and eyes), feel tired... read more occurs.

Chronic, repeated use may cause problems similar to those of amphetamines, including dependence. Some users develop paranoid psychosis. Decline in mental functioning may also occur with repeated, frequent use.

Diagnosis

  • Clinical evaluation

MDMA may not be detected by routine urine drug tests.

Treatment

  • Symptomatic treatment for acute toxicities and dependency

More Information about MDMA

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