Cardiovascular effects of 'ecstasy' revealed

The drug ecstasy produces dose-related increases in myocardial oxygen demand without an increase in contractility.

Tudor Toma(ttoma@mail.dntis.ro)
Dec 18, 2000

The drug 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), also known as 'ecstasy', seems to produce dose-related increases in myocardial oxygen demand without an increase in the contractility of the heart. These effects could explain the increased risk of cardiovascular complications in recreational users, suggests a team of researchers from the University of California led by Dr John Mendelson; the results were published on 18 December in Annals of Internal Medicine (Ann Intern Med 2000 133:969-973).

Oral MDMA (0.5 and 1.5 mg/kg of body weight) or placebo, was administered to eight healthy self-reported users of the drug. Using echocardiography, the researchers measured an increase in heart rate of 28 beats/min, in systolic blood pressure by 25 mmHg and in cardiac output by 2 L/min, at one hour after administration of MDMA. The effects of MDMA were similar to those observed after infusion of 20 μg/kg/min and 40μg/kg/min dobutamine on a separate occasion. But...