Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/2440/14401
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Type: Journal article
Title: The health effects of ecstacy: a literature review
Author: Gowing, L.
Henry-Edwards, S.
Irvine, R.
Ali, R.
Citation: Drug and Alcohol Review, 2002; 21(1):53-63
Publisher: Carfax Publishing
Issue Date: 2002
ISSN: 0959-5236
1465-3362
Statement of
Responsibility: 
Linda R. Gowing, Susan M. Henry-Edwards, Rodney J. Irvine and Robert L. Ali
Abstract: Ecstasy (3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine, MDMA) is the third most used illicit drug, after cannabis and amphetamines. There has been considerable interest in the adverse effects of use, with particular attention given to a small number of deaths related to ecstasy use, and the neurotoxic effects of MDMA. This paper reviews case reports of adverse effects attributed to ecstasy use, and the findings of animal and human studies, so as to identify the health effects of ecstasy use, and factors contributing to their occurrence. The incidence of serious acute adverse events related to ecstasy is low. It is the unpredictability of those adverse events and the risk of mortality and substantial morbidity that makes the health consequences of ecstasy significant. Hyperthermia and hyponatraemia are the most significant acute adverse effects, and can occur even when MDMA is the only drug used. Ecstasy users should be aware of the importance of controlling body temperature and fluid intake, early signs of adverse effects, and the need to seek medical assistance promptly. Neurotoxicity is potentially the most significant long-term effect of ecstasy. The clinical implications of neurotoxicity are uncertain at this time, but short-term memory impairment may be significant.
Keywords: Ecstasy; physiology; substance abuse
Description: © Carfax Publishing
RMID: 0020022388
DOI: 10.1080/09595230220119363
Appears in Collections:Pharmacology publications

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