Toxicity of drug abuse--amphetamine designer drugs (ecstasy): mental effects and consequences of single dose use

Toxicol Lett. 2000 Mar 15;112-113:147-52. doi: 10.1016/s0378-4274(99)00217-9.


MDMA (3,4-methylendioxymethamphetamine) is the most commonly used substance within the 'ecstasy' group of drugs. MDMA interferes with serotonin and catecholamine transporters in the central nervous system to increase monoamine synaptic levels and thereby mediate the majority of its central nervous effects. These range from wanted effects like euphoria, central nervous stimulation, and feeling of closeness to mild hallucinations, impairment of cognition and co-ordination and further to serious reactions like agitation, disturbed and bizarre behaviour, and possibly psychosis. The full picture of the consequences of these transitory changes is not known. It has been assumed that the risk of being involved in fatalities and accidents during the state of MDMA influence is increased, but this possible risk increase has so far not been determined. Observations of the prevalence of MDMA involvement in cases of reckless driving and the MDMA blood concentrations measured indicate a risk increase comparable to that observed after use of amphetamines.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic / statistics & numerical data
  • Adult
  • Central Nervous System / drug effects
  • Hallucinogens / adverse effects*
  • Hallucinogens / blood
  • Hallucinogens / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Mental Processes / drug effects*
  • N-Methyl-3,4-methylenedioxyamphetamine / adverse effects*
  • N-Methyl-3,4-methylenedioxyamphetamine / blood
  • N-Methyl-3,4-methylenedioxyamphetamine / pharmacology
  • Norway
  • Risk Factors
  • Serotonin Agents / adverse effects
  • Serotonin Agents / blood
  • Serotonin Agents / pharmacology


  • Hallucinogens
  • Serotonin Agents
  • N-Methyl-3,4-methylenedioxyamphetamine