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Neuroendocrine and subjective responses to pharmacological challenge with citalopram: a controlled s

Neuroendocrine and subjective responses to pharmacological challenge with citalopram: a controlled s

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    Allott K, Canny B, Broadbear J, Stepto N, Murphy B, Redman J.
    J Psychopharmacol. 2009 Sep;23(7):759-74.

    Abstract
    Despite evidence that ±3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA; ‘ecstasy’) causes persistent alterations to the serotonergic system of animals, evidence for long-term neurological effects of ecstasy/MDMA in humans remains equivocal. The current study assessed serotonin functioning of nine male and 11 female recreational ecstasy polydrug users by measuring neuroendocrine (prolactin, cortisol) responses to pharmacological challenge with the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor citalopram, compared with nine male and five female cannabis polydrug users and 11 male and 11 female non-drug using controls. A single-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled design was used. Subjective responses, other substance use, mood, personality traits and demographic variables were measured to control for potentially confounding variables. There were no significant differences between ecstasy polydrug users, cannabis polydrug users and non-drug using controls in neuroendocrine or subjective responses to serotonergic challenge, and there were no sex by drug group interactions. There was no relationship between extent of ecstasy use and neuroendocrine functioning, alone or in combination with potential confounding variables. Subjective responses to the pharmacological challenge (nausea, tremor, dry mouth), novelty seeking and lifetime dose of alcohol were the only variables that contributed to one or more of the neuroendocrine outcome variables. These data do not support the premise that recreational ecstasy/MDMA use results in measurable impairment of serotonergic control of endocrine activity.