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Overdose - What to do in case of an ecstasy overdose?

Discussion in 'Ecstasy & MDMA' started by Alfa, Feb 6, 2009.

  1. Alfa

    Alfa Productive Insomniac Staff Member Administrator

    Reputation Points:
    Jan 14, 2003
    116 y/o from The Netherlands
    This thread is meant to collect information about what to do in case of an ecstasy overdose. The aim is to get enough information to come to a definitive article/sticky about the topic.

    Please post relevant information here. This may be quotes. This may be an article written by yourself. Questions are also welcome.
  2. anony

    anony Silver Member

    Reputation Points:
    Dec 6, 2007
    28 y/o from U.K.
    Describe an ecstasy overdose
    If your relating to sheer anxiety\paranoia that kicks in at a very high dosage (tripping out) swim always finds continuing with what your doing and trying not to think about it is the ONLY way to go about it. Just swims oppinion though the dirty druggy!
  3. runitsthepolice

    runitsthepolice Silver Member

    Reputation Points:
    Jun 12, 2008
    from U.S.A.
    I found an article on erowid relating to this:


    Survival After Massive Ecstasy Overdose.
    by S Ramcharan, PL Meenhorst, JMMB Otten, CHW Koks, D de Boer, RAA Maes and
    JH Beijnen

    Introduction: The toxicity profile of the amphetamine derivative
    3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA, "Ecstasy") is well known. This designer drug is
    usually taken at "house parties" and may cause severe complications, sometimes leading to
    death, even when taken in relatively small units (1 or 2 tablets). Up to now, only a few cases of
    survival after ingestion of an overdose of Ecstasy have been described. In most cases the users
    developed hyperthermia, disseminated intravascular coagulation, rhabdomyolysis, and renal
    failure. Case Reoort: We describe a man who, after ingesting SO tablets of Ecstasy (in
    combination with oxazepam and alcohol) at home, recovered within 2 days. Presenting features
    were unconsciousness, apnea, and convulsions. It is suggested that in most cases severe
    3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine toxicity results from an interaction between direct
    pharmacological effects of the drug and the prevailing environmental conditions (high ambient
    temperature, dancing in trance, little fluid intake.

    3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA, "Ecstasy") is an amphetamine derivative that has become increasingly
    popular as a recreational drug in recent years. Part of its popularity may lie in the belief that MDMA is relatively
    harmless.[1,2] The use of MDMA makes people feel euphoric, loquacious, and closer to other individuals; some call it the
    "love drug." It is often taken at "house parties" as mood enhancer.[3,4] It has, however, many adverse effects, such as
    loss of appetite, trismus or bruxism (grinding of the teeth), nausea, muscle aches or stiffness, ataxia, sweating,
    tachycardia, and hypertension.[5] MDMA is also known to damage brain serotonin neurons.[2] There has been a recent
    increase in cases of severe toxicity following recreational misuse of relatively small amounts (1 or 2 tablets) of MDMA.
    Complications have included fulminant hyperthermia, convulsions, disseminated intravascular coagulation,
    rhabdomyolysis, acute renal failure, cardiac arrhythmias, hepatitis, and even liver failure.[6-8]
    This study describes a patient who attempted suicide by ingesting 50 tablets of Ecstasy at home and had an uneventful
    recovery within 2 days.

    Case Report
    A 30-year-old man was admitted to the Emergency Department of our hospital after being found unconscious, apneic, and
    with symmetrical convulsions at home. He confirmed later, after recovery, to have taken 50 tablets of Ecstasy, 10 tablets
    of oxazepam 10 mg, and 5 units of alcohol over a period of 4 to 5 hours. He was intubated and ventilated and transported
    to our hospital.
    On admission, he was still comatose and had convulsions. Other significant findings on physical examination included a
    body core temperature 38.7 [degrees] C, blood pressure 135/85 mm Hg, and a regular pulse rate 120/min. His pupils
    were dilated and did not react to light. Relevant laboratory findings on admission, including arterial blood gas analysis,
    were pH 7.20, P[O.sub.2] 475.0 mm Hg (63.2 kPa), P[CO.sub.2] 59.0 mm Hg (7.8 kPa), [O.sub.2] sat 99.9%, [HCO.sub.3]
    [sup.-]22.3 mmol/L. Apart from a serum calcium of 2.18 mmol/L (albumin 44 g/L) and CPK of 79 U/L (upper limit 70 U/L),
    all laboratory findings were within the normal range. A chest X ray showed no abnormalities and the ECG showed sinus
    tachycardia. The symptomatology was an expected manifestation of an Ecstasy or amphetamine intoxication. The patient
    was ventilated, extensive gastric lavage (20 L) was performed, and activated charcoal was instilled into his stomach. After
    intravenous administration of dantrolene 1 mg/kg body weight (total dose 80 mg), his temperature dropped to 38.0
    [degrees] C. Because he did not respond sufficiently to clonazepam 1 mg, pancuronium bromide 6 mg, a muscle relaxant,
    was administered following which his convulsions subsided. After a few hours, arterial blood gases returned to normal.
    Within 2 days, he recovered completely with the exception of an increased CPK, thought due to convulsions. No other
    laboratory abnormalities were noted and 3 days after admission, he was discharged.

    Several urine and serum samples and gastric lavage fluid were analyzed. A fluorescence polarization immunoassay
    (FPIA) screening of the urine samples for amphetamines and derivatives was performed in our hospital using a
    TDxFLx[R] analyzer (Abbott). A quantitative GC/MS confirmation for MDMA and MDA (3,4-methylenedioxyamphetamine,
    the main metabolite of MDMA) in the urine samples was then done. After isolation of the amphetamines by liquid-liquid
    extraction and derivatization with fluosol DA, GC/MS analysis was performed. (RS)-propylhexedrine was used as internal
    standard. Table 1 shows the results of both the immunoassay screening on amphetamines and derivatives in general and
    the quantitative GC/MS confirmation for MDMA and MDA in particular.

    Table 1
    Results of FPIA Screening and GC/MS Analysis
    Time After Sample FPIA Results
    4 urine positive
    gastric na
    36 urine positive
    60 urine positive
    serum na
    Time After GC/MS Results
    Ingestion Concentration of MDMA Concentration of MDA
    (hours) Enantiomers (mg/L) Enantiomers (mg/L)
    R-(-) S-(+) R-(-) S-(+)
    4 44 42 nd 0.4
    70 72 nd nd
    nd nd
    36 36 17 3 7
    60 18 10 5 4
    0.8 0.2 nd nd
    na: not analyzed; no material available; nd: not detected; limit of detection is 0.005 mg/L.
    MDMA is well absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract after oral ingestion, and peak serum levels occur within 1 to 3
    hours. The drug is highly lipid soluble and readily crosses the blood-brain barrier. Protein binding and volume of
    distribution vary widely. MDMA undergoes extensive hepatic metabolism with the production of MDA which also exhibits
    pharmacologic activity. Unchanged drug and metabolite are then excreted into the urine. The elimination half-life of
    MDMA is 6 to 7 hours. Studies on tissue distribution show the highest concentrations of both MDMA and MDA in liver and

    In our case, we observed high MDMA levels in the gastric lavage. Logically no MDA is detected in the gastric lavage since
    the drug is metabolized in the liver. The gastric fluid contained almost equal quantities of R-(-)-MDMA and S-(+)-MDMA
    indicating that the Ecstasy tablets contained equal amounts of the enantiomers. The gastric lavage (20 L) was effective
    with the removal of 2,800 mg MDMA. On the second day, the urine samples showed the expected decrease in MDMA
    concentration with a further decrease on the next day. The third day, a serum specimen revealed low levels of MDMA
    while MDA was not detected. R-(-)-MDMA serum level was higher than the level of the S-(+) enantiomer. The
    N-demethylation pathway for MDMA is enantioselective as demonstrated in rats and mice.[13] If this finding can be
    extrapolated to humans, it may explain the enantiomeric profiles of MDMA and its N-demethylated metabolite MDA.
    MDMA has a rapid onset of action of approximately 1/2 hour. Users describe 3 phases: an initial period of disorientation,
    followed by a rush during which the user experiences tingling and may exhibit spasmodic jerking motions, and finally, a
    period of "happy sociability." Generally, MDMA’s effects wear off in 4 to 6 hours; however, confusion, depression, and
    anxiety have been reported by some users to last for several weeks after a single dose.[14] The side effects of MDMA
    range from mild to severe and may even be fatal. Since the drug is illegally produced, tablet dosages vary, but it is
    generally thought that each tablet contains at least 50 to 150 mg of MDMA.[1] The literature describes cases in which
    patients die after ingestion of 1 to 3 Ecstasy tablets, with serum levels ranging from approximately 0.1 to 0.4 mg/L.[6] In
    our patient, these serum MDMA levels were reached 60 hours after Ecstasy ingestion (Table 1) and indicate the severity
    of this intoxication. Two cases of massive overdose have been described adequately. In one case, the patient ingested 42
    tablets of Ecstasy at home (plasma MDMA 7.72 mg/L) and showed no symptoms other than a "hangover" with
    tachycardia and hypertension.[6] Another patient ingested an overdose of 40 Ecstasy tablets but developed no significant
    complications.[15] Consequently, there is no firm estimate of a dose at which toxicity is likely to occur, and the relationship
    between the dose of MDMA and the production and severity of complications is not straightforward.[14] MDMA is believed
    to act through at least 3 neurotransmitter pathways: the serotoninergic pathway is principally affected, which would
    account for the more pronounced effect on mood, anxiety, cognition and impulse control. The drug also influences
    dopaminergic and noradrenergic systems. Serotonin plays a major role in thermoregulation and interference with this
    mechanism is believed to be the cause of the hyperthermia which arises as a complication of MDMA misuse (resembling
    a serotonin syndrome[16]). Stimulation of the noradrenergic system probably also contributes to hyperthermia.[17] In fatal
    cases, death is usually due to severe hyperthermia (heatstroke) accompanied by disseminated intravascular coagulation,
    rhabdomyolysis, and acute renal failure.[6,17] It is suggested that the combination of the drug and the circumstances in
    which it is taken are important in the mechanism of its toxicity.[6] Most of the serious cases that are mentioned were
    among people at crowded parties or clubs. At such venues, sustained physical activity (which may itself be an effect of the
    drug), a high ambient temperature, poor ventilation, and inadequate fluid replacement could all reduce heat-loss and
    potentiate a direct effect of the drug on thermoregulatory mechanisms, leading to fulminant hyperthermia.[3,6,15,18,19]
    Under normal conditions, intracellular calcium increases with muscular contraction and decreases with relaxation. MDMA,
    through some unknown mechanism, possibly causes intracellular calcium ion increase with associated muscular
    contraction, and prevents decrease and relaxation. This results in erratic, uncontrolled, constant muscular contractions
    that require larger amounts of oxygen and produce large volumes of carbon dioxide, lactic acid, energy, and heat.[1] A
    profound acidosis will change membrane permeability, resulting in the release of calcium, potassium, creatinine
    phosphokinase, and myoglobin from muscle cells. The features of an intoxication are hyperthermia, muscle rigidity,
    profound respiratory and metabolic acidosis, and hyperkalemia. At this point, the acidosis and the electrolyte disturbances
    are sufficient to cause fatal cardiac arrhythmias.[1] Individuals who use Ecstasy while engaging in strenuous physical
    activity can easily become dehydrated. In cases of severe dehydration, development of cerebral thrombosis is
    possible.[20] At house parties, alcohol consumption may also enhance the pharmacological effects of MDMA. Drug
    agencies are aware of the risk of hyperthermia and advise those who use the drug to wear loose clothing, to drink
    adequately in order to facilitate thermoregulation, and to stop dancing when feeling exhausted. Some club owners have
    provided "chillout" rooms with seating and air conditioning to help cooling.[5,17]

    The fact that our patient survived his suicidal attempt might be ascribed to the effective gastric lavage but possibly also to
    the ambient circumstances after ingestion. He took the drug at home, in a quiet setting where none of the conditions
    necessary to induce or enhance toxicity were present. We think that this case lends further weight to the hypothesis that
    MDMA toxicity may be increased by an interaction of direct pharmacological effects of the drug and the prevailing
    environmental conditions at administration. Other factors (e.g., immune mechanisms, genetic variants of CYP2D6,
    idiosyncrasy) can not be excluded. Immediate large-volume gastric lavage may still be beneficial 4 hours after intake.

    [1.] Wake D. Ecstasy overdose: A case study. Intens Crit Care Nurs 1995;11:6-9.
    [2.] Man de RA. Morbidity and mortality as a result of ecstasy consumption. Ned Tijdschr Geneeskd 1994; 138:1850-1855.
    [3.] Randall T. Ecstasy-fueled "rave" parties become dances of death for English youths. JAMA 1992;268: 1505-1506.
    [4.] Jones AL, Jarvie DR, McDermid G, Proudfoot AT. Hepatocellular damage following amphetamine intoxication. J
    Toxicol Clin Toxicol 1994;32:435-444.
    [5.] Henry JA. Ecstasy and the dance of death. BMJ 1992;305:5-6.
    [6.] Henry JA, Jeffreys KJ, Dawling S. Toxicity and deaths from 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine ("ecstasy"). Lancet
    [7.] Rittoo DB, Rittoo D, Ellis SJ, Larner AJ. Complications of "ecstasy" misuse. Lancet 1992;340:725-726.
    [8.] Squier MV, Jalloh S, Hilton-Jones D, Series H. Death after ecstasy ingestion: Neuropathological findings. J Neurol
    Neurosurg Psychiatry 1995;58:756-764.
    [9.] Haddad LM, Shannon W, Winchester JF. Clinical Management of Poisoning and Drug Overdose, 3rd Ed.
    Philadelphia: WB Saunders Company, 1998:1257.
    [10.] Rohrig TP, Prouty RW. Tissue distribution of methylenedioxymethamphetamine. J Anal Toxicol 1992;16:52-53.
    [11.] Steele TD, McCann UD, Ricaurte GA. 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA, "Ecstasy"): Pharmacology and
    toxicology in animals and humans. Addiction 1994;89:539-551.
    [12.] Henderson GL. Designer drugs. In: Analytical Toxicology for Clinical, Forensic, and Pharmaceutical Chemists.
    Brandenberger H, Maes RAA, eds., Berlin-New York: Walter de Gruyter, 1997:685-704.
    [13.] Lim HK, Su Z, Foltz RL. Stereoselective disposition: Enantioselective quantitation of 3,4-(methylene dioxy)
    methamphetamine and three of its metabolites by gas chromatography/electron capture negative ion chemical ionization
    mass spectrometry. Biol Mass Spec 1993;22:403-411.
    [14.] Dowling GP, Mc Donough ET, Bost RO. "Eve" and "ecstasy": A report of five deaths associated with the use of
    MDEA and MDMA. JAMA 1987;257:1615-1617.
    [15.] Barrett PJ. "Ecstasy" misuse-overdose or normal dose? Anaesthesia 1993;48:83.
    [16.] Ames D, Wirshing WC. Ecstasy, the serotonin syndrome, and neuroleptic malignant syndrome--a possible link?
    JAMA 1993;269:869-870.
    [17.] Milroy CM, Clark JC, Forrest ARW. Pathology of deaths associated with "ecstasy" and "eve" misuse. J Clin Pathol
    [18.] Miller DB, O’Callaghan JP. Environment-, drug- and stress-induced alterations in body temperature affect the
    neurotoxicity of substituted amphetamines in the C57BL/6J Mouse. J Pharmacol Exp Ther 1994;270: 752-760.
    [19.] Dafters RI. Hyperthermia following MDMA administration in rats: Effects of ambient temperature, water consumption,
    and chronic dosing. Physiology Behavior 1995;58:877-882.
    [20.] Mc Cann UD, Slate SO, Ricaurte GA. Adverse reactions with 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA;
    "Ecstasy"). Drug Safety 1996;15:107-115.
    S Ramcharan; PL Meenhorst; JMMB Otten; CHW Koks; D de Boer; RAA Maes; JH Beijnen
    Slotervaart Hospital, Amsterdam (SR, PLM, JMMBO, CHWK, JHB); Utrecht University, Utrecht (DdB, RAAM), The
    Correspondence: Prof. Dr. J. H. Beijnen, Department of Pharmacy and Pharmacology, The Netherlands Cancer
    Institute/Slotervaart Hospital, Louwesweg 6, 1066 EC Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Tel: 31/20-512-4481; Fax:
    31/20-512-4753; E-mail: APJBY@SLZ.NL
    Journal of Toxicology: Clinical Toxicology Dec 1998 v36 i7 p727(1) Page 4

    Anecdotally, I can say that he has seen some of his friends overdo it. If they were responsive they were given cool water to sip on, and put in a lukewarm shower while being monitored. After a few hours they came out of it. Some even went from breathing heavily and sweating profusely, just generally looking like shit to coming out being in a great mood. If anyone is ever unresponsive the best idea is to call 911.

    The problem with ecstasy pills sometimes is that there can be any number of chemicals in an "ecstasy" tablet. Swim himself has never overdosed on mdma but has definitely had adverse reactions to some pills (like being on the drug was torture but the comedown felt good). Bastards made those...
  4. Alfa

    Alfa Productive Insomniac Staff Member Administrator

    Reputation Points:
    Jan 14, 2003
    116 y/o from The Netherlands
    There are various physical and psychological side effects that can occur as the results of an ecstasy overdose.

    In many cases the user does not know the content of the ecstasy pills taken, so the side effects can be caused by the dose, the adulterants, other drugs in the pills or by circumstance(i.e. dehydration, overheating, water overdose)
  5. anony

    anony Silver Member

    Reputation Points:
    Dec 6, 2007
    28 y/o from U.K.
    I think the only side affects from pills are the user tripping out\getting very worked up over nothing. A SWIM personally, has had it happen and it's bullshit cause the paranoia feeds off of itself and I am guessing this is due to the low seretone amount in your brain. (swim aint no scientist).
    If a swim trips out\OVERDOSES the best thing is to get them some air and just cool the fuck down. It happens to the best of swims.
  6. Samadhi

    Samadhi Gold Member

    Reputation Points:
    Sep 27, 2007
    from U.S.A.
    I have watched a friend unknowingly ingest 750mg of MDMA.

    The friend developed some scary effects/OD effects within 45 minutes after ingestion. His body temp skyrocketed to 102, he had a pretty extreme case of lock-jaw, his nystagmus got so bad he actually vomited from motion sickness... overall it was a bad night.

    He refused to go to the hospital, not for fear of legal repercussions, but because apparently he fears hospitals.

    Swim kept a very close eye on him throughout the night monitering his body temp, giving him water and occasionally checking his BP. After he fell asleep, he awoke the next morning with the feeling of "complete nothingness" in his brain and a very very sore jaw.
  7. st sam

    st sam Newbie

    Reputation Points:
    Jan 1, 2009
    I had alittle too much last time, double dropped but they were quite strong. I found everything too much, paranioa. I found somewhere relatively quiet and lay in a bed for 20 mins, was very nice, calmed them down. I spent the rest of the night chilling out but still having an amazing time, keeping themselves cool be pressing a cup of water over their body and I didnt get themselves worked up again that night. This worked brilliantly for SWIM.
  8. give me substance

    give me substance Newbie

    Reputation Points:
    Apr 2, 2010
    from U.K.
    Case Report
    A 30-year-old man was admitted to the Emergency Department of our hospital after being found unconscious, apneic, and
    with symmetrical convulsions at home. He confirmed later, after recovery, to have taken 50 tablets of Ecstasy, 10 tablets
    of oxazepam 10 mg, and 5 units of alcohol over a period of 4 to 5 hours.

    holy crap.....
  9. Priapism9

    Priapism9 Silver Member

    Reputation Points:
    Jun 17, 2009
    40 y/o from Germany
    I have a document identifying what an ER doctor should do in the case of Acute Ecstasy overdose. Unfortunately your PDF attach and upload option does not work.. It says "upload failed" no matter what browser I use.

  10. teagy

    teagy Silver Member

    Reputation Points:
    Apr 21, 2009
    from U.K.
    swim living in the uk would say the chances of
    OD on mdma would be almost impossible
    hell knows whats in them pills
  11. barge

    barge Newbie

    Reputation Points:
    Nov 4, 2009
    from U.K.
    Bad advice to give, I could get you plenty of pills in the UK that would bring about a uncomfortable reaction if someone with little experiance took too many, anicdotal evidence suggests bunk pills are alot less overwelming than mdma, but swim cannot speak from first hand.
  12. Priapism9

    Priapism9 Silver Member

    Reputation Points:
    Jun 17, 2009
    40 y/o from Germany

    Why does NONE of this match anything I have learned about MDMA?

    (1) What literature shows that the side effects of MDMA may be fatal? One can not call them "MDMA side effects" if they are side effects of improper hydration, cooling, or methamphetamine.

    (2) What literature shows that someone _died_ after 1, 2, or even 3 tablets of pure, tested MDMA under 150mg each, without any adulterants, or external factors such as improper hydration or cooling? One can not say "MDMA killed this person" if improper hydration, cooling, or meth killed the person.

    (3) What literature shows that 60 hours after ingestion, MDMA remains in toxic quantities in the bloodstream? My understanding is that MDMA is urinated out of the system within 24-48 hours.

    Last edited: Jun 7, 2010