3,4-Methylenedioxy analogues of amphetamine: defining the risks to humans

Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 1999 Mar;23(4):539-53. doi: 10.1016/s0149-7634(98)00046-3.


The 3,4-methylenedioxy analogues of amphetamine [MDMA ("Ecstasy", "Adam"), MDA ("Love") and MDE ("Eve")] are recreational drugs that produce feelings of euphoria and energy and a desire to socialize, which go far to explain their current popularity as "rave drugs". In addition to these positive effects, the drugs are relatively inexpensive to purchase and have the reputation of being safe compared to other recreational drugs. Yet there is mounting evidence that these drugs do not deserve this reputation of being safe. This review examines the relevant human and animal literature to delineate the possible risks MDMA, MDA and MDE engender with oral consumption in humans. Following a summary of the behavioral and cognitive effects of MDMA, MDA and MDE, risks will be discussed in terms of toxicity, psychopathology, neurotoxicity, abuse potential and the potential for drug-drug interactions associated with acute and chronic use.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • 3,4-Methylenedioxyamphetamine / analogs & derivatives*
  • 3,4-Methylenedioxyamphetamine / toxicity*
  • Amphetamines / toxicity*
  • Animals
  • Designer Drugs / toxicity*
  • Dopamine Uptake Inhibitors / toxicity*
  • Hallucinogens / toxicity*
  • Humans


  • Amphetamines
  • Designer Drugs
  • Dopamine Uptake Inhibitors
  • Hallucinogens
  • 3,4-Methylenedioxyamphetamine
  • 3,4-methylenedioxyethamphetamine