Acute neuropsychological effects of MDMA and ethanol (co-)administration in healthy volunteers
SourcePsychopharmacology, 197, 3, (2008), pp. 465-474
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ DCC CO
SW OZ BSI KLP
SW OZ NICI CO
F.C. Donders Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging
SubjectExperimental Psychopathology and Treatment
RATIONALE: In Western societies, a considerable percentage of young people expose themselves to 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA or "ecstasy"). Commonly, ecstasy is used in combination with other substances, in particular alcohol (ethanol). MDMA induces both arousing as well as hallucinogenic effects, whereas ethanol is a general central nervous system depressant. OBJECTIVE: The aim of the present study is to assess the acute effects of single and co-administration of MDMA and ethanol on executive, memory, psychomotor, visuomotor, visuospatial and attention function, as well as on subjective experience. MATERIALS AND METHODS: We performed a four-way, double-blind, randomised, crossover, placebo-controlled study in 16 healthy volunteers (nine male, seven female) between the ages of 18-29. MDMA was given orally (100 mg) and blood alcohol concentration was maintained at 0.6 per thousand by an ethanol infusion regime. RESULTS: Co-administration of MDMA and ethanol was well tolerated and did not show greater impairment of performance compared to the single-drug conditions. Impaired memory function was consistently observed after all drug conditions, whereas impairment of psychomotor function and attention was less consistent across drug conditions. CONCLUSIONS: Co-administration of MDMA and ethanol did not exacerbate the effects of either drug alone. Although the impairment of performance by all drug conditions was relatively moderate, all induced significant impairment of cognitive function.
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