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Variability in content and dissolution profiles of MDMA tablets collected in the UK between 2001 and 2018 - A potential risk to users?
Drug Test Anal. 2019 Aug; 11(8):1172-1182.DT

Abstract

3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA, Ecstasy) tablets are widely used recreationally, and not only vary in appearance, but also in MDMA content. Recently, the prevalence of high-content tablets is of concern to public health authorities. To compare UK data with other countries, we evaluated MDMA content of 412 tablets collected from the UK, 2001-2018, and investigated within-batch content variability for a sub-set of these samples. In addition, we investigated dissolution profiles of tablets using pharmaceutical industry-standard dissolution experiments on 247 tablets. All analyses were carried out using liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). Our data supported other studies, in that recent samples (2016-2018) tend to have higher MDMA content compared to earlier years. In 2018, the median MDMA content exceeded 100 mg free-base for the first time. Dramatic within-batch content variability (up to 136 mg difference) was also demonstrated. Statistical evaluation of dissolution profiles at 15-minutes allowed tablets to be categorized as fast-, intermediate-, or slow-releasing, but no tablet characteristics correlated with dissolution classification. Hence, there would be no way of users knowing a priori whether a tablet is more likely to be fast or slow-releasing. Further, within-batch variation in dissolution rate was observed. Rapid assessment of MDMA content alone provides important data for harm reduction, but does not account for variability in (a) the remainder of tablets in a batch, or (b) MDMA dissolution profiles. Clinical manifestations of MDMA toxicity, especially for high-content, slow-releasing tablets, may be delayed or prolonged, and there is a significant risk of users re-dosing if absorption is delayed.

Authors+Show Affiliations

Analytical Services International, St. George's University of London, Cranmer Terrace, London, UK. Pharmaceutical Sciences Clinical Academic Group, King's College London, London, UK.TICTAC Communications, St. George's University of London, Cranmer Terrace, London, UK.TICTAC Communications, St. George's University of London, Cranmer Terrace, London, UK. Clinical Pharmacology, William Harvey Research Institute, Queen Mary University of London, London, UK.TICTAC Communications, St. George's University of London, Cranmer Terrace, London, UK.TICTAC Communications, St. George's University of London, Cranmer Terrace, London, UK.Analytical Services International, St. George's University of London, Cranmer Terrace, London, UK. Institute of Chemistry, University of Tartu, Tartu, Estonia.Analytical Services International, St. George's University of London, Cranmer Terrace, London, UK. Institute of Chemistry, University of Tartu, Tartu, Estonia.Analytical Services International, St. George's University of London, Cranmer Terrace, London, UK.Analytical Services International, St. George's University of London, Cranmer Terrace, London, UK. Clinical Pharmacology, William Harvey Research Institute, Queen Mary University of London, London, UK.

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article

Language

eng

PubMed ID

31009168

Citation

Couchman, Lewis, et al. "Variability in Content and Dissolution Profiles of MDMA Tablets Collected in the UK Between 2001 and 2018 - a Potential Risk to Users?" Drug Testing and Analysis, vol. 11, no. 8, 2019, pp. 1172-1182.
Couchman L, Frinculescu A, Sobreira C, et al. Variability in content and dissolution profiles of MDMA tablets collected in the UK between 2001 and 2018 - A potential risk to users? Drug Test Anal. 2019;11(8):1172-1182.
Couchman, L., Frinculescu, A., Sobreira, C., Shine, T., Ramsey, J., Hecht, M., Kipper, K., Holt, D., & Johnston, A. (2019). Variability in content and dissolution profiles of MDMA tablets collected in the UK between 2001 and 2018 - A potential risk to users? Drug Testing and Analysis, 11(8), 1172-1182. https://doi.org/10.1002/dta.2605
Couchman L, et al. Variability in Content and Dissolution Profiles of MDMA Tablets Collected in the UK Between 2001 and 2018 - a Potential Risk to Users. Drug Test Anal. 2019;11(8):1172-1182. PubMed PMID: 31009168.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Variability in content and dissolution profiles of MDMA tablets collected in the UK between 2001 and 2018 - A potential risk to users? AU - Couchman,Lewis, AU - Frinculescu,Anca, AU - Sobreira,Catarina, AU - Shine,Trevor, AU - Ramsey,John, AU - Hecht,Max, AU - Kipper,Karin, AU - Holt,David, AU - Johnston,Atholl, Y1 - 2019/05/15/ PY - 2018/11/21/received PY - 2019/04/10/revised PY - 2019/04/15/accepted PY - 2019/4/23/pubmed PY - 2020/1/14/medline PY - 2019/4/23/entrez KW - 3,4-methylenedioxymetamfetamine KW - Ecstasy KW - MDMA KW - public health SP - 1172 EP - 1182 JF - Drug testing and analysis JO - Drug Test Anal VL - 11 IS - 8 N2 - 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA, Ecstasy) tablets are widely used recreationally, and not only vary in appearance, but also in MDMA content. Recently, the prevalence of high-content tablets is of concern to public health authorities. To compare UK data with other countries, we evaluated MDMA content of 412 tablets collected from the UK, 2001-2018, and investigated within-batch content variability for a sub-set of these samples. In addition, we investigated dissolution profiles of tablets using pharmaceutical industry-standard dissolution experiments on 247 tablets. All analyses were carried out using liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). Our data supported other studies, in that recent samples (2016-2018) tend to have higher MDMA content compared to earlier years. In 2018, the median MDMA content exceeded 100 mg free-base for the first time. Dramatic within-batch content variability (up to 136 mg difference) was also demonstrated. Statistical evaluation of dissolution profiles at 15-minutes allowed tablets to be categorized as fast-, intermediate-, or slow-releasing, but no tablet characteristics correlated with dissolution classification. Hence, there would be no way of users knowing a priori whether a tablet is more likely to be fast or slow-releasing. Further, within-batch variation in dissolution rate was observed. Rapid assessment of MDMA content alone provides important data for harm reduction, but does not account for variability in (a) the remainder of tablets in a batch, or (b) MDMA dissolution profiles. Clinical manifestations of MDMA toxicity, especially for high-content, slow-releasing tablets, may be delayed or prolonged, and there is a significant risk of users re-dosing if absorption is delayed. SN - 1942-7611 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/31009168/Variability_in_content_and_dissolution_profiles_of_MDMA_tablets_collected_in_the_UK_between_2001_and_2018___A_potential_risk_to_users L2 - https://doi.org/10.1002/dta.2605 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -