The many faces of ecstasy

Suzanne Doyon

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


References to the word ecstasy in popular culture can mean different things to different individuals. The most common form of ecstasy (3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine [MDMA]), is an amphetamine with some hallucinogenic properties at high doses. It is directly neurotoxic to the human brain and has been linked to a number of deaths worldwide. Deaths result from hyperthermia, hyponatremia, or cerebral edema. A naturally occurring metabolite of gamma-aminobutyric acid, gammahydroxybutyrate (GHB) is a potent central nervous system depressant. Although GHB is a Schedule I drug, analogs remain widely available for consumption. Acute intoxication with GHB or its analogs leads to coma and respiratory depression. Chronic use of GHB or its analogs is associated with a withdrawal syndrome characterized by autonomic excitation. Herbal ecstasy refers to ephedrine-containing preparations. Acute and chronic overdoses of herbal ecstasy have been linked to hypertension, tachydysrythmias, myocardial infarctions, cerebrovascular accidents, and deaths. There is no regulation of the ephedrine content of available herbal ecstasy products.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)170-176
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent opinion in pediatrics
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 9 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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