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Sleep apnea in young abstinent recreational MDMA ("ecstasy") consumers (2009)

Sleep apnea in young abstinent recreational MDMA ("ecstasy") consumers (2009)

  1. ThirdEyeFloond
    Neurology. 2009 Dec 8;73(23):2011-7. Epub 2009 Dec 2.

    Una D. McCann, Francis P. Sgambati, Alan R. Schwartz, and George A. Ricaurte

    Background: Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA, "ecstasy") is a popular recreational drug of abuse and a selective brain serotonin neurotoxin. Functional consequences of MDMA neurotoxicity have defied ready characterization. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a common form of sleep-disordered breathing in which brain serotonin dysfunction may play a role. The present study sought to determine whether abstinent recreational MDMA users have an increased prevalence of OSA.

    Methods: We studied 71 medically healthy recreational MDMA users and 62 control subjects using all-night sleep polysomnography in a controlled inpatient research setting. Rates of apneas, hypopneas, and apnea hypopnea indices were compared in the 2 groups, controlling for body mass index, age, race, and gender.

    Results: Recreational MDMA users who had been drug free for at least 2 weeks had significantly increased rates of obstructive sleep apnea and hypopnea compared with controls. The odds ratio (95% confidence interval) for sleep apnea (mild, moderate, and severe combined) in MDMA users during non-REM sleep was 8.5 (2.4–30.4), which was greater than that associated with obesity [6.9 (1.7–28.2)]. Severity of OSA was significantly related to lifetime MDMA exposure.

    Conclusions: These findings suggest that prior recreational methylenedioxymethamphetamine use increases the risk for obstructive sleep apnea and lend support to the notion that brain serotonin neuronal dysfunction plays a role in the pathophysiology of sleep apnea.
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