Acute psychological effects of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA, "Ecstasy") are attenuated by the serotonin uptake inhibitor citalopram

Neuropsychopharmacology. 2000 May;22(5):513-21. doi: 10.1016/S0893-133X(99)00148-7.

Abstract

3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA, "Ecstasy") is a recreational drug that has been shown to release serotonin (5-HT) and dopamine (DA) in animals. The effect of MDMA on 5-HT release can be blocked by 5-HT uptake inhibitors such as citalopram, suggesting that MDMA interacts with the 5-HT uptake site. It is unknown whether this mechanism is also responsible for the psychological effects of MDMA in humans. We investigated the effect of citalopram pretreatment (40 mg iv) on the psychological effects of MDMA (1.5 mg/kg po) in a double-blind placebo-controlled psychometric study in 16 healthy human volunteers. MDMA produced an emotional state with heightened mood, increased self-confidence and extroversion, moderate derealization, and an intensification of sensory perception. Most of these effects were markedly reduced by citalopram. This finding suggests that the psychological effects of MDMA are mediated via action at the 5-HT uptake site to increase 5-HT release through the carrier, as expected from animal studies.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Amphetamine-Related Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Amphetamine-Related Disorders / physiopathology
  • Amphetamine-Related Disorders / psychology*
  • Brain / drug effects
  • Brain / physiopathology
  • Citalopram / administration & dosage*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Hallucinogens / administration & dosage*
  • Hallucinogens / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • N-Methyl-3,4-methylenedioxyamphetamine / administration & dosage*
  • N-Methyl-3,4-methylenedioxyamphetamine / adverse effects*
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Nootropic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Nootropic Agents / adverse effects
  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors / administration & dosage*

Substances

  • Hallucinogens
  • Nootropic Agents
  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors
  • Citalopram
  • N-Methyl-3,4-methylenedioxyamphetamine