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Review
. 2011 Jan;392(1-2):103-15.
doi: 10.1515/BC.2011.016.

The Ugly Side of Amphetamines: Short- And Long-Term Toxicity of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA, 'Ecstasy'), Methamphetamine and D-amphetamine

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Free PMC article
Review

The Ugly Side of Amphetamines: Short- And Long-Term Toxicity of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA, 'Ecstasy'), Methamphetamine and D-amphetamine

Thomas Steinkellner et al. Biol Chem. .
Free PMC article

Abstract

Amphetamine ('Speed'), methamphetamine ('Ice') and its congener 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA; 'Ecstasy') are illicit drugs abused worldwide for their euphoric and stimulant effects. Despite compelling evidence for chronic MDMA neurotoxicity in animal models, the physiological consequences of such toxicity in humans remain unclear. In addition, distinct differences in the metabolism and pharmacokinetics of MDMA between species and different strains of animals prevent the rationalisation of realistic human dose paradigms in animal studies. Here, we attempt to review amphetamine toxicity and in particular MDMA toxicity in the pathogenesis of exemplary human pathologies, independently of confounding environmental factors such as poly-drug use and drug purity.

Figures

Figure 1
Figure 1
Amphetamine and congeners. The chemical structures of amphetamines and the congeners are shown as indicated (the chemical names in parentheses represent the IUPAC names): amphetamine [street name: ‘Speed’; d-form: (2S)-1-phenylpropan-2-amine], methamphetamine [street name: ‘crank’ or ‘Crystal meth’; d-form: (2S)-N-methyl-1-phenylpropan-2-amine], 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine or MDMA [street name: ‘Ecstasy’; 1-(1,3-benzodioxol-5-yl)-N-methylpropan-2-amine].

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