Initial characterization of PMMA as a discriminative stimulus

Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 1997 May-Jun;57(1-2):151-8. doi: 10.1016/s0091-3057(96)00306-1.


The phenylisopropylamine PMMA or N-methyl-1-(4-methoxyphenyl)-2-aminopropane, a structural hybrid of paramethoxyamphetamine (PMA) and methamphetamine, has been previously shown to unexpectedly lack amphetamine-like or hallucinogen-like stimulus properties in animals. For example, in tests of stimulus generalization, neither a (+)amphetamine stimulus nor a DOM stimulus generalized to PMMA. It has also been shown, however, that stimulus generalization does occur in animals trained to discriminate the designer drug MDMA ("Ecstasy" or N-methyl-1-(3,4-methylenedioxyphenyl)-2-aminopropane) from vehicle. In order to further characterize this unique agent, we trained a group of six Sprague-Dawley rats to discriminate 1.25 mg/kg of PMMA (ED50 = 0.44 mg/kg) from saline vehicle. The PMMA stimulus failed to generalize to the phenylisopropylamine stimulant (+)amphetamine, or to the phenylisopropylamine hallucinogen DOM. Stimulus generalization occurred to (+/-)MDMA (ED50 = 1.32 mg/kg) and S(+)MDMA (ED50 = 0.48 mg/kg). Partial generalization occurred with R(+)MDMA, PMA, 3.4-DMA, and fenfluramine. The PMMA stimulus also generalized to the alpha-ethyl homolog of PMMA (EH/PMMA, ED50 = 1.29 mg/kg). Taken together, the results of these studies suggest that PMMA is an MDMA-like agent that lacks the amphetamine-like stimulant character of MDMA. These findings support our previous suggestion that PMMA be considered the structural parent of the MDMA-like family of designer drugs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants / pharmacology*
  • Designer Drugs / pharmacology*
  • Discrimination Learning / drug effects*
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical
  • Generalization, Stimulus*
  • Male
  • Methamphetamine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Methamphetamine / pharmacology
  • N-Methyl-3,4-methylenedioxyamphetamine / pharmacology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley


  • Central Nervous System Stimulants
  • Designer Drugs
  • paramethoxymethamphetamine
  • Methamphetamine
  • N-Methyl-3,4-methylenedioxyamphetamine