[The early history of "Ecstasy"]

Nervenarzt. 2006 Jan;77(1):95-6, 98-9. doi: 10.1007/s00115-005-2001-y.
[Article in German]


There is no consensus in the literature regarding the early history of MDMA (Methylendioxymethamphetamine, so-called "Ecstasy"). Various authors credit the first synthesis of MDMA to the German chemist Fritz Haber, but it appears neither in his doctoral thesis (Berlin 1891) nor in his accompanying articles. The man who first synthesized MDMA was the chemist Dr. Anton Köllisch, who worked for the German pharmaceutical company Merck. He created MDMA as a by-product while trying to synthesize hydrastinin, a styptic substance. In 1912, Merck filed to patent the applied method of preparation. The patent was issued in 1914, yet no pharmaceutical testing followed at that time.

Publication types

  • English Abstract
  • Historical Article

MeSH terms

  • Drug Industry / history*
  • Germany
  • History, 20th Century
  • N-Methyl-3,4-methylenedioxyamphetamine / history*
  • Patents as Topic / history*


  • N-Methyl-3,4-methylenedioxyamphetamine