Human pharmacology of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA, ecstasy) after repeated doses taken 2 h apart

A. M. Peiró, M. Farré, P. N. Roset, M. Carbó, M. Pujadas, M. Torrens, J. Camí, R. De La Torre

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29 Citations (Scopus)


Background: 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA, ecstasy) is one of the most abused recreational drugs. Its usual pattern of misuse includes repeated doses taken over a short time period that could influence MDMA pharmacology and toxicity. Objective: This study aims to evaluate the pharmacokinetics and pharmacologically induced effects of two MDMA consecutive doses separated by 2 h. Methods: A randomized, double-blind, crossover, and placebo-controlled trial included ten male volunteers participating in two experimental sessions. MDMA was administered as a single 100-mg dose or as a repeated dose (50 mg followed by 100 mg, administered at 2 h apart). Outcome variables included pharmacokinetics, physiological, subjective, and psychomotor effects. Results: Following the repeated doses, plasma concentrations of MDMA were higher than those expected by simple dose accumulation (+16.2 % AUC; +12.8 % C max), but those of HMMA and HMA were significantly lower (-29.8 % AUC; -38.2 % C max). After the second dose, physiological effects, psychomotor performance, and subjective effects were lower than expected especially for euphoria and stimulation. MDMA-induced increases in diastolic and systolic arterial pressure and body temperature were in the range of those expected following MDMA concentrations. Conclusions: MDMA pharmacokinetics and metabolic disposition following two doses separated by 2 h show that the contribution of the first dose to the MDMA-induced mechanism-based metabolic inhibition was already apparent. The concentrations of MDMA after the second dose were slightly higher than expected. The effects on blood pressure and temperature after the second administration were slightly higher than those following the first, but for heart rate and subjective variables these were lower than expected considering the MDMA concentrations achieved, suggesting a possible tolerance phenomenon. © 2012 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)883-893
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2013


  • CYP2D6
  • Ecstasy
  • Humans
  • MDMA
  • Metabolic inhibition
  • Pharmacokinetics
  • Pharmacologic effects
  • Repeated dose


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