Pharmacological effects of methylone and MDMA in humans

Lourdes Poyatos, Clara Pérez-Mañá*, Olga Hladun, Melani Núñez-Montero, Georgina de la Rosa, Soraya Martín, Ana Maria Barriocanal, Lydia Carabias, Benjamin Kelmendi, Omayema Taoussi, Francesco Paolo Busardò, Francina Fonseca, Marta Torrens, Simona Pichini, Magí Farré*, Esther Papaseit

*Autor correspondiente de este trabajo

Producción científica: Contribución a una revistaArtículoInvestigaciónrevisión exhaustiva

5 Citas (Scopus)


Methylone is one of the most common synthetic cathinones popularized as a substitute for 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA, midomafetamine) owing to its similar effects among users. Both psychostimulants exhibit similar chemistry (i.e., methylone is a β-keto analog of MDMA) and mechanisms of action. Currently, the pharmacology of methylone remains scarcely explored in humans. Herein, we aimed to evaluate the acute pharmacological effects of methylone and its abuse potential in humans when compared with that of MDMA following oral administration under controlled conditions. Seventeen participants of both sexes (14 males, 3 females) with a previous history of psychostimulant use completed a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover clinical trial. Participants received a single oral dose of 200 mg of methylone, 100 mg of MDMA, and a placebo. The variables included physiological effects (blood pressure, heart rate, oral temperature, pupil diameter), subjective effects using visual analog scales (VAS), the short form of the Addiction Research Center Inventory (ARCI), the Evaluation of Subjective Effects of Substances with Abuse Potential questionnaire (VESSPA-SSE), and the Sensitivity to Drug Reinforcement Questionnaire (SDRQ), and psychomotor performance (Maddox wing, psychomotor vigilance task). We observed that methylone could significantly increase blood pressure and heart rate and induce pleasurable effects, such as stimulation, euphoria, wellbeing, enhanced empathy, and altered perception. Methylone exhibited an effect profile similar to MDMA, with a faster overall onset and earlier disappearance of subjective effects. These results suggest that abuse potential of methylone is comparable to that of MDMA in humans. Clinical Trial Registration:; Identifier: NCT05488171.

Idioma originalInglés
Número de artículo1122861
Páginas (desde-hasta)1122861
PublicaciónFrontiers in Pharmacology
EstadoPublicada - 17 feb 2023


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