Serotonergic function after (+/-)3,4-methylene-dioxymethamphetamine ('Ecstasy') in humans
Gerra G, Zaimovic A, Giucastro G, Maestri D,
Monica C, Sartori R, Caccavari R, Delsignore R
Centro Studi Farmacotossicodipendenze,
Az. USL, Universita di Parma, Italy.
Int Clin Psychopharmacol 1998 Jan; 13(1):1-9


(+/-)3,4-Methylene-dioxymethamphetamine (MDMA, or 'Ecstasy') effects on serotonin system function and behaviour in humans are unclear. Fifteen MDMA users, who did not have other drug dependencies or alcohol abuse, and had not used other drugs for prolonged periods, and 15 control individuals were included in a study to assess the biological and psychological changes after chronic use of MDMA. Prolactin and cortisol responses to D-fenfluramine challenge, clinical psychobehavioural changes, personality characteristics, including mood, aggressiveness and temperamental aspects, were evaluated 3 weeks after MDMA discontinuation. MDMA users had significantly reduced prolactin and cortisol responses in comparison with control individuals (p < 0.001 and p < 0.005, respectively). Dysphoria and mood changes were exhibited in seven individuals, tiredness in five and sensation-seeking behaviour in twelve at the clinical evaluation. Significantly higher scores were found in MDMA individuals than in control individuals for Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory subscale for Depression, for Buss Durkee Hostility Inventory direct and guilt subscales, for Hamilton Depression Rating Scale and for novelty-seeking Tridimensional Personality Questionnaire subscale. Prolactin responses to D-fenfluramine stimulation area under the curve among MDMA users were negatively correlated with direct aggressiveness scores for Buss Durkee Hostility Inventory; a negative correlation between prolactin responses and novelty-seeking scores was also evidenced among MDMA users. These data suggest an association between serotonin system impairment and MDMA use in humans; in interpretation of these results, the possibility that serotonin deficit in MDMA individuals was partially related to a premorbid condition, in relationship with novelty-seeking behaviour and mood disorders, can not be excluded.
Serotonin dip
Alexander Shulgin
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