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The sub-acute effects of recreational ecstasy (MDMA) use: a controlled study in humans (2006)

The sub-acute effects of recreational ecstasy (MDMA) use: a controlled study in humans (2006)

  1. Jatelka
    Journal of Psychopharmacology 2006 Mar,20(2):281-290

    Huxster JK, Pirona A, Morgan MJ

    All previous studies of the sub-acute effects of ecstasy have failed to adequately control for group differences in psychopathology and past and concurrent substance use. The present study was designed to avoid these limitations. At an initial pre-drug baseline, a sample of 38 regular ecstasy users provided full substance histories and completed measures of personality and self-reported psychopathology. We then collected daily subjective measures of mood, cognitive impairment, restless sleep, sexual desire, craving for ecstasy and concomitant use of other substances for the next 9 days. The 20 participants who subsequently opted to take ecstasy during the 9-day assessment period reported modest sub-acute effects of ecstasy on negative mood and subjective cognitive impairment compared to those who did not after controlling for baseline group differences in psychopathology and frequency of ecstasy use. There were no significant sub-acute effects of ecstasy on interest in sexual activity or craving for ecstasy. After further controlling for co-use of alcohol with ecstasy, and the sub-acute effects of ecstasy on sleep, the sub-acute effect on mood remained marginally statistically significant but the subacute effect on cognitive impairment did not. The present findings suggest that the sub-acute effects of ecstasy in regular recreational users are relatively modest and transient but that such genuine effects may have been masked by, perhaps more clinically significant, chronic sequelae of regular ecstasy use in all previous studies of recreational ecstasy users.

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