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Grob CS, Bravo GL, Walsh RN, Liester MB. 
“The MDMA-neurotoxicity controversy: implications for clinical research with novel psychoactive drugs”. 
J Nerv Ment Dis. 1992;180(6):355-6.
During the mid-1980s, a debate arose over the suitability of a unique psychoactive compound, 3, 4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), as an adjunct to psychotherapy. Proponents of MDMA-facilitated treatment reported it to be a relatively mild, easily controlled, and short-acting drug that enhanced the capacity within the psychotherapy setting for introspection and empathy, noticeably reducing depression and anxiety, yet without distracting alterations in perception, sense of self, or body image (Grinspoon and Bakalar, 1986). Treatment outcome, often of cases refractory to conventional therapies, was reported to be highly impressive (Greer and Tolbert, 1990). Results from subsequent legal MDMA psychotherapy research in Switzerland support these early claims of MDMA's therapeutic utility.

However, in the United States, before rigorous methodological designs could be applied within controUed clinical research settings, the Drug Enforcement Administration ruled to deny the availability of MDMA for medical use. This decision was influenced not only by media reports sensationalizing its use in the population, but by laboratory studies reporting serotonergic neurotoxicity in animals. Subsequent investigations were also directed at evaluating neurotoxicity in humans previously exposed to MDMA. Unfortunately, these efforts have, on careful examination, often contained flaws in methodology as well as interpretation.
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