Acute effects of nocturnal doses of MDMA on measures of impulsivity and psychomotor performance throughout the night
- 200 Downloads
Previous studies on the acute effects of MDMA on psychomotor performance and impulsivity showed that MDMA acts as a stimulant. These studies assessed performance during daytime, whereas in real life, dance-attendees leaving a party use the drug during the night.
The present study aimed to assess the effects of nocturnal doses of MDMA on psychomotor performance and impulsivity during the night and after a night of sleep deprivation.
Materials and methods
Fourteen healthy subjects participated in a double-blind, placebo-controlled, two-way within-subject study. The treatment was MDMA (75 and 50 mg) divided over the evening or double placebo. Psychomotor and impulsivity tasks were conducted four times throughout the evening and night. A vigilance test was conducted once, at 5 a.m., and a sleepiness scale was presented to the subjects ten times throughout the evening and night.
MDMA impaired tracking performance in a simple tracking task. Divided attention task performance was also impaired as indicated by a decrease in secondary task performance under the influence of MDMA compared with placebo. MDMA did not affect impulsivity measures. Vigilance performance decreased as a function of time on task, but this decrement was less during MDMA treatment compared to placebo. After the administration of MDMA, the sleepiness scale scores were lower during the night when compared with placebo. This difference between MDMA and placebo disappeared in the morning.
It is concluded that nocturnal doses of MDMA may produce impairments of tracking performance and divided attention throughout the night that are additive to performance impairment produced by sleep loss.
KeywordsMDMA Sleep deprivation Psychomotor Impulsivity Repeated dose
We would like to thank Gert De Boeck and Maria del Mar Ramirez Fernandez from NICC, Brussels, for analyzing the MDMA blood plasma samples. This research was supported by internal funds only.
- Balogh B, Molnar E, Jakus R, Quate L, Olverman HJ, Kelly PA, Kantor S, Bagdy G (2004) Effects of a single dose of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine on circadian patterns, motor activity and sleep in drug-naive rats and rats previously exposed to MDMA. Psychopharmacology 173:296–309PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- DIMS (2005) DIMS Jaarbericht 2005. Trimbos Institute, Netherlands Institute of Mental Health and Addiction, Utrecht, pp 1–4Google Scholar
- Dumont GJ, Verkes RJ (2006) A review of acute effects of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine in healthy volunteers. J Psychopharmacol (Oxford, England) 20:176–187Google Scholar
- Fillmore MT, Rush CR, Hays L (2002) Acute effects of oral cocaine on inhibitory control of behavior in humans. Drug Alcohol Depend 67(2):157–167Google Scholar
- Hernandez-Lopez C, Farre M, Roset PN, Menoyo E, Pizarro N, Ortuno J, Torrens M, Cami J, de La Torre R (2002) 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (Ecstasy) and alcohol interactions in humans: psychomotor performance, subjective effects, and pharmacokinetics. J Pharmacol Exp Ther 300:236–244PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Jex HR, McDonnell JD, Phatak AV (1966) A “critical” tracking task for man–machine research related to the operator’s effective delay time. I. Theory and experiments with a first-order divergent controlled element. NASA CR-616. NASA Contract Rep, USA, pp 1–105Google Scholar
- Lamers CT, Ramaekers JG, Muntjewerff ND, Sikkema KL, Samyn N, Read NL, Brookhuis KA, Riedel WJ (2003) Dissociable effects of a single dose of ecstasy (MDMA) on psychomotor skills and attentional performance. J Psychopharmacol (Oxford, England) 17:379–387Google Scholar
- Mackworth NH (1950) Researches on the measurement of human performance. Medical Research Council special report, series no. 268. His Majesty’s Stationery Office, Oxford, EnglandGoogle Scholar
- Mitchell SH (1999) Measures of impulsivity in cigarette smokers and non-smokers. Psychopharmacology 146(4):455–464Google Scholar
- Moskowitz H (1973) Laboratory studies of the effects of alcohol on some variables related to driving. J Saf Res 5:185–199Google Scholar
- Ramaekers JG, Muntjewerff ND, O’Hanlon JF (1995) A comparative study of acute and subchronic effects of dothiepin, fluoxetine and placebo on psychomotor and actual driving performance. Br J Pharmacol 39:397–404Google Scholar