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The confounding problem of polydrug use in recreational ecstasy/MDMA users: a brief overview.
J Psychopharmacol. 2006 Mar; 20(2):188-93.JP

Abstract

The popular dance drug ecstasy (3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine -- MDMA) is neurotoxic upon central serotonergic neurons in laboratory animals and possibly also in humans. In recent years, several studies reported alterations of serotonergic transmission and neuropsychiatric abnormalities in ecstasy users which might be related to MDMA-induced neurotoxic brain damage. To date, the most consistent findings associate subtle cognitive, particularly memory, deficits with heavy ecstasy use. However, most studies have important inherent methodological problems. One of the most serious confounds is the widespread pattern of polydrug use which makes it dif.cult to relate the findings in user populations to one specific drug. The present paper represents a brief overview on this issue. The most commonly co-used substances are alcohol, cannabis and stimulants (amphetamines and cocaine). Stimulants are also neurotoxic upon both serotonergic and dopaminergic neurons. Hence, they may act synergistically with MDMA and enhance its long-term adverse effects. The interactions between MDMA and cannabis use may be more complex: cannabis use is a well-recognized risk factor for neuropsychiatric disorders and it was shown to contribute to psychological problems and cognitive failures in ecstasy users. However, at the cellular level, cannabinoids have neuroprotective actions and they were shown to (partially) block MDMA-induced neurotoxicity in laboratory animals. In future, longitudinal and prospective research designs should hopefully lead to a better understanding of the relation between drug use and subclinical psychological symptoms or neurocognitive failures and, also, of questions around interactions between the various substances of abuse.

Authors+Show Affiliations

Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University of Cologne, Germany. e.gouzoulis@uni-koeln.deNo affiliation info available

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article
Review

Language

eng

PubMed ID

16510477

Citation

Gouzoulis-Mayfrank, Euphrosyne, and Jörg Daumann. "The Confounding Problem of Polydrug Use in Recreational ecstasy/MDMA Users: a Brief Overview." Journal of Psychopharmacology (Oxford, England), vol. 20, no. 2, 2006, pp. 188-93.
Gouzoulis-Mayfrank E, Daumann J. The confounding problem of polydrug use in recreational ecstasy/MDMA users: a brief overview. J Psychopharmacol. 2006;20(2):188-93.
Gouzoulis-Mayfrank, E., & Daumann, J. (2006). The confounding problem of polydrug use in recreational ecstasy/MDMA users: a brief overview. Journal of Psychopharmacology (Oxford, England), 20(2), 188-93.
Gouzoulis-Mayfrank E, Daumann J. The Confounding Problem of Polydrug Use in Recreational ecstasy/MDMA Users: a Brief Overview. J Psychopharmacol. 2006;20(2):188-93. PubMed PMID: 16510477.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - The confounding problem of polydrug use in recreational ecstasy/MDMA users: a brief overview. AU - Gouzoulis-Mayfrank,Euphrosyne, AU - Daumann,Jörg, PY - 2006/3/3/pubmed PY - 2006/8/10/medline PY - 2006/3/3/entrez SP - 188 EP - 93 JF - Journal of psychopharmacology (Oxford, England) JO - J Psychopharmacol VL - 20 IS - 2 N2 - The popular dance drug ecstasy (3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine -- MDMA) is neurotoxic upon central serotonergic neurons in laboratory animals and possibly also in humans. In recent years, several studies reported alterations of serotonergic transmission and neuropsychiatric abnormalities in ecstasy users which might be related to MDMA-induced neurotoxic brain damage. To date, the most consistent findings associate subtle cognitive, particularly memory, deficits with heavy ecstasy use. However, most studies have important inherent methodological problems. One of the most serious confounds is the widespread pattern of polydrug use which makes it dif.cult to relate the findings in user populations to one specific drug. The present paper represents a brief overview on this issue. The most commonly co-used substances are alcohol, cannabis and stimulants (amphetamines and cocaine). Stimulants are also neurotoxic upon both serotonergic and dopaminergic neurons. Hence, they may act synergistically with MDMA and enhance its long-term adverse effects. The interactions between MDMA and cannabis use may be more complex: cannabis use is a well-recognized risk factor for neuropsychiatric disorders and it was shown to contribute to psychological problems and cognitive failures in ecstasy users. However, at the cellular level, cannabinoids have neuroprotective actions and they were shown to (partially) block MDMA-induced neurotoxicity in laboratory animals. In future, longitudinal and prospective research designs should hopefully lead to a better understanding of the relation between drug use and subclinical psychological symptoms or neurocognitive failures and, also, of questions around interactions between the various substances of abuse. SN - 0269-8811 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/16510477/The_confounding_problem_of_polydrug_use_in_recreational_ecstasy/MDMA_users:_a_brief_overview_ L2 - https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0269881106059939?url_ver=Z39.88-2003&rfr_id=ori:rid:crossref.org&rfr_dat=cr_pub=pubmed DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -