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Does combining prozac with ecstasy really damage the heart?
Q: I read a newspaper story that said that taking prozac with ecstasy can cause damage to my heart, is this true?

A: There is a story in this week's Arizona Daily Star [Mar, 2002] with the headline "Popping prozac won't protect brains of ecstasy users, experts say". The article includes a comment indicating that taking prozac after MDMA use can be dangerous. (A copy of the story can be found at

The only mention in the story of the danger of combining the two is the following:

"Experts say there are definite risks to mixing the drugs. Ecstasy can reduce Prozac's ability to calm depression. And a combination of both drugs could harm the heart, says pharmacist Darryl Inaba, chief executive of the Haight-Ashbury Free Clinics."

We contacted Dr Inaba by email to ask about his comments and whether he could point us at any research or references that suggested the combination of MDMA and Prozac was dangerous. He replied saying the reporter was in error and that he had never claimed the combination was more risky than MDMA alone.

There is certainly reason to be concerned that the use of Ecstasy could be dangerous for people with cardiac problems. There is also reason to be concerned for people with depression problems because of the post-E crash, depression, and/or emotional instability which occurs for many users. But there is no credible published or anecdotal evidence which shows that taking SSRI's after MDMA increases any known risks (though it is important to note that just because something hasn't been shown to be dangerous doesn't mean it's safe).

The issue is complex, as most medical and scientific issues are, and is the subject of a response letter we wrote to the New England Journal of Medicine.

As a side note, it is amusing that the title of the Arizona Daily Star's article is completely out of touch with its content. No expert quoted in the story says that "popping prozac won't protect the brains of ecstasy users", or anything of the sort. While the question of whether SSRIs protect against MDMA-related neurotoxicity in humans as effectively as they do in rat-studies has not yet been addressed, the article doesn't quote a single 'expert' supporting the author's view that they do not offer protection.

take care,


Asked By : zak
Answered By : earth
Published Date : 3 / 29 / 2002
Last Edited Date : 3 / 30 / 2002
Question ID : 2956

Categories: [ Chemicals ] [ MDMA (Ecstasy) ] [ SSRIs ]

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