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Pharmacological aspects of the combined use of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA, ecstasy) and

Pharmacological aspects of the combined use of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA, ecstasy) and

  1. trptamene
    Drug Alcohol Rev 2005;24:359 – 368

    Uys JDK, Niesink RJM

    Epidemiological studies show that the use of club drugs is on the rise. Furthermore, the last few decades have seen a rise in patterns of polydrug use. One of the combinations frequently used is ecstasy (MDMA) with gammahydroxybutyrate (GHB). For effective prevention it is important to be aware of this phenomenon and of the pharmacology of these drugs. The effects of the combination extend to different neurotransmitter systems, including serotonin, dopamine and noradrenaline. Studies investigating the effects of combinations of psychoactive substances are limited. In this review we describe the subjective effects of the MDMA/GHB combination. Furthermore, we review the individual actions of MDMA on serotonin, dopamine and noradrenaline systems. In addition, actions of GHB on these systems are discussed as a possible pharmacological basis for the interaction of both drugs. It is postulated thatGHBattenuates the unpleasant or dysphoric effects ofMDMAby its effect on the central dopaminergic system.

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