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a compound chemically related to amphetamine and having hallucinogenic properties; it is widely abused. Popularly called Ecstasy.
Miller-Keane Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing, and Allied Health, Seventh Edition. © 2003 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier, Inc. All rights reserved.


A centrally active phenethylamine derivative related to amphetamine and methamphetamine, with central nervous system excitant and hallucinogenic properties.
Synonym(s): 3, 4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine

MDMA was first synthesized in Germany early in the 20th century and patented for use as an appetite suppressant, but because of its unacceptably high incidence of severe side effects it was never marketed for that indication. During the 1960s and 1970s, it was used experimentally as an adjunct to psychotherapy. Its administration has never been legal in the U.S., except as a Schedule I investigational drug. At present no medical indications for its use are recognized. Since the late 1980s, it has been an increasingly popular drug of abuse among white middle-class adolescents and young adults in metropolitan and suburban communities. More than 2 million tablets are smuggled into the U.S. each week from Belgium, Israel, and the Netherlands. It is also produced in illicit laboratories in this country. Known as "ecstasy" and by a number of other street synonyms (X, E, XTC, M&M, ADAM, Clarity, Lover's Speed, Hug Drug, Bean, Roll), it is usually dispensed as compressed tablets bearing various logos, particularly butterflies, lightning bolts, and four-leaf clovers. Tablets vary in concentration and purity and may contain substances other than MDMA, including caffeine and dextromethorphan, as adulterants or substitutes. MDMA is a club drug, that is, an agent sold and ingested at all-night dance parties ("raves," "techno parties," "trances") where most or all participants use the drug and where decor, entertainment, and ambiance are intended to enhance its psychotropic effects. Pharmacologically MDMA acts as a monoaminergic agonist, promoting copious serotonin release in midbrain centers. Taken orally a dose of 100 mg induces euphoria, loquacity, and a sense of increased energy and heightened social intimacy lasting 4-6 hours. Some users experience perceptual distortion and hallucinations, delirium, anxiety, panic attacks, aggressiveness, paranoia, or seizures. Physiologic effects include elevation of pulse and blood pressure, hyperthermia, dehydration, and muscular twitching and spasms (particularly jaw clenching) sometimes resulting in rhabdomyolysis. Excessive water consumption can lead to water intoxication. After the acute effects wear off, the user may experience depression, flashbacks, or amnesia. Some of these effects can persist or recur for weeks after use is discontinued. MDMA is frequently used in combination with other drugs, especially marijuana. Serially repeated dosing ("piggy-backing") increases the risk of acute psychosis, life-threatening cardiovascular emergencies, and malignant hyperthermia. Use of MDMA accounts for 5000-6000 emergency department visits yearly. Human and animal studies have documented a neurotoxic effect of MDMA on serotonin pathways. A single dose induces significant long-term neurochemical changes and repetitive use has been shown to cause selective and permanent brain damage manifested by irreversible cognitive impairment and memory loss.

Farlex Partner Medical Dictionary © Farlex 2012


MDMA, see Ecstasy.
McGraw-Hill Concise Dictionary of Modern Medicine. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
Subjective and hormonal effects of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) in humans.
MDMA (3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine) or ecstasy: the neuropsychobiological implications of taking it at dances and raves.
The neurotoxic effects of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) and methamphetamine on serotonin, dopamine, and GABA-ergic terminals: an in-vitro autoradiographic study in rats.
Cardiovascular and neuroendocrine effects and pharmacokinetics of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine in humans.
Human pharmacology of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine ("ecstasy"): psychomotor performance and subjective effects.
Investigation of the quantitative properties of the quadrupole orthogonal acceleration time-of-flight mass spectrometer with electrospray ionisation using 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine. Rapid Commun Mass Spectrom 1999;13:1540-5.
Stereoselective pharmacokinetics of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine in the rat.
Virtually all amphetamine immunoassays share some cross-reactivity with other structurally related sympathornimetic compounds such as psuedoephedrine, phenylpropanolamine, and 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine. This shared cross-reactivity has led to the generally accepted laboratory practice that immunoassay drug screens are confirmed by "a second independent chemical technique" because of the potentially adverse consequences of a positive finding.
3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), commonly known as 'ecstasy', is a stimulant drug, which is widely abused due to its hallucinogenic properties.
On the other hand, two pieces of broken blue tablets were positive for 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDM), commonly known as ecstasy.
Favorable results also were reported for 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), commonly known as ecstasy, for posttraumatic stress disorder; ketamine for depression and suicidality; and marijuana for pain and other problems.

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