Effects of repeated doses of MDMA ("Ecstasy") on cell-mediated immune response in humans

Roberta Pacifici, Piergiorgio Zuccaro, Magí Farré, Simona Pichini, Simonetta Di Carlo, Pere Nolasc Roset, Jordi Ortuo, Mitona Pujadas, Antonella Bacosi, Esther Menoyo, Jordi Segura, Rafael De La Torre

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53 Citations (Scopus)


Cell-mediated immune response after the administration of two repeated doses of 100 mg 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) at 4-hour and 24-hour intervals was evaluated in two randomised, double-blind and cross-over clinical trials conducted in healthy male MDMA consumers. MDMA produced a time-dependent decrease in the CD4/CD8 T-cell ratio due to a decrease in the number of CD4 T-helper cells, a decrease in the functional responsiveness of lymphocytes to mitogenic stimulation, and a simultaneous increase in natural killer cells. In case of two 100 mg MDMA doses given 4 hour apart, immune alterations produced by the first dose were strengthened by the second one. At 24 hours after treatment, statistically significant residual effects were observed for all the altered immune parameters after the administration of two MDMA doses if compared to single dose and placebo. In the second clinical trial, the second 100 mg MDMA dose given 24 hours after the first dose produced immunological changes significantly greater than those induced by the initial drug administration and which seemed to show a delayed onset. Significant residual effects were observed for all the immune parameters as late as 48 hours after the second dose. These results show that repeated administration of MDMA with both a short and a long time interval between doses extends the critical period following MDMA administration, already observed after a single dose, in which immunocompetence is severely compromised. © 2001 Elsevier Science Inc. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2931-2941
JournalLife Sciences
Publication statusPublished - 2 Nov 2001


  • Humans
  • Immunity
  • MDMA
  • Repeated administration


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