Drug Abuse

More Dangers from Designer Drugs

Science's STKE  01 Oct 2002:
Vol. 2002, Issue 152, pp. tw360-TW360
DOI: 10.1126/stke.2002.152.tw360

In recent years, MDMA, or "ecstasy," has become a widespread recreational drug in the Western world. Current research suggested already that this substance is selectively damaging serotoninergic synaptic transmission. Ricaurte et al. describe how ecstasy causes not only serotoninergic, but also dopaminergic neurotoxicity, in monkeys. MDMA might then interfere with motor function even when given in recreational doses. Because neuropsychiatric disorders are often related to dopamine dysfunction, recreational users may be putting themselves at risk for developing such diseases.

G. A. Ricaurte, J. Yuan, G. Hatzidimitriou, B. J. Cord, U. D. McCann, Severe dopaminergic neurotoxicity in primates after a common recreational dose regimen of MDMA ("ecstasy"). Science 297, 2260-2263 (2002). [Abstract] [Full Text]