The neuropsychology of ecstasy (MDMA) use: a quantitative review

Hum Psychopharmacol. 2007 Oct;22(7):427-35. doi: 10.1002/hup.873.


A growing number of empirical studies have found varying neuropsychological impairments associated with use of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) use. We set out to determine to what extent neuropsychological abilities are impaired in MDMA users. To do so, meta-analytical methods were used to determine the magnitude of neuropsychological impairment in MDMA users across pre-specified cognitive domains. We found that cognitive impairment secondary to recreational drug use may result in what might be described as small-to-medium effects across all cognitive domains with learning and memory being most impaired. We also found that total lifetime ingestion of MDMA appears to be negatively associated with performance on tasks ranging from attention and concentration to learning and memory. Implications and limitations of these findings are discussed.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Attention / drug effects
  • Cognition Disorders / chemically induced*
  • Hallucinogens / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Learning / drug effects
  • Memory / drug effects
  • N-Methyl-3,4-methylenedioxyamphetamine / adverse effects*
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Psychomotor Performance / drug effects


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