3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (ecstasy) and alcohol interactions in humans: Psychomotor performance, subjective effects, and pharmacokinetics

Cándido Hernández-López, Magí Farré, Pere N. Roset, Esther Menoyo, Nieves Pizarro, Jordi Ortuño, Marta Torrens, Jordi Camí, Rafael De La Torre

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130 Citations (Scopus)


3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) is frequently consumed in association with alcohol. The effect of this combination in humans has not been previously investigated. Nine male healthy volunteers received single oral doses of 100 mg of MDMA plus 0.8 g/kg ethanol, 100 mg of MDMA, 0.8 g/kg of ethanol, and placebo in a double blind, double dummy, randomized crossover trial. Measurements included psychomotor performance, subjective effects, and pharmacokinetics. Plasma concentrations of MDMA showed a 13% increase after the use of alcohol, whereas plasma concentrations of alcohol showed a 9 to 15% decrease after MDMA administration. The MDMA-alcohol combination induced longer lasting euphoria and well being than MDMA or alcohol alone. MDMA reversed the subjective sedation induced by alcohol but did not reduce drunkenness feelings. MDMA did not reverse the actions of alcohol on psychomotor abilities. Combined use of MDMA and alcohol causes dissociation between subjective and objective sedation. Subjects may feel euphoric and less sedated and might have the feeling of doing better, but actual performance ability continues to be impaired by the effect of alcohol. Confirmation of these findings in further studies will be highly relevant in terms of road safety.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)236-244
JournalJournal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jan 2002


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