Erowid References Database
McKenna DJ, Peroutka SJ.
“Neurochemistry and neurotoxicity of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA, 'ecstasy')”.
J Neurochem. 1990;54(1):14-22.
3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA; also known as 'Ecstasy') is a ring-substituted phenylisopropylamine that is related to both amphetamines and hallucinogens, such as mescaline (Fig. 1). Although the drug was patented in 1914, interest in the compound was minimal until the past decade. During this period, MDMA began to be used as an adjunct to psychotherapy by certain therapists due to its purported ability to induce a state of reduced anxiety and lowered defensiveness (Downing, 1986; Greer and Tolbert, 1986). In addition, the recreational use of MDMA, particularly on college campuses, appears to have increased significantly in recent years (Peroutka, 1987). The human use of this agent is of concern due to the fact that MDMA and some of its congeners are selective serotonergic neurotoxins in laboratory animals.
Partly as result of the recent interest in MDMA, numerous investigators have begun to explore the neurochemical effects of MDMA. During the past 3 years, over 80 publications on MDMA have appeared in the scientific literature. The following review attempts to provide a brief summary of recent data on the neurochemistry and neurotoxicity of MDMA and its derivatives.
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