The acute effects of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine and d-methamphetamine on human cognitive functioning
- 403 Downloads
This study investigated the acute (3-h) and 24-h post-dose cognitive effects of oral 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), d-methamphetamine, and placebo in a within-subject double-blind laboratory-based study in order to compare the effect of these two commonly used illicit drugs on a large number of recreational drug users.
Sixty-one abstinent recreational users of illicit drugs comprised the participant sample, with 33 females and 28 males, mean age 25.45 years. The three testing sessions involved oral consumption of 100 mg MDMA, 0.42 mg/kg d-methamphetamine, or a matching placebo. The drug administration was counter-balanced, double-blind, and medically supervised. Cognitive performance was assessed during drug peak (3 h) and at 24 h post-dosing time-points. Blood samples were also taken to quantify the levels of drug present at the cognitive testing time-points.
Blood concentrations of both methamphetamine and MDMA at drug peak samples were consistent with levels observed in previous studies. The major findings concern poorer performance in the MDMA condition at peak concentration for the trail-making measures and an index of working memory (trend level), and more accurate performance on a choice reaction task within the methamphetamine condition. Most of the differences in performance between the MDMA, methamphetamine, and placebo treatments diminished by the 24-h testing time-point, although some performance improvements subsisted for choice reaction time for the methamphetamine condition.
Further research into the acute effects of amphetamine preparations is necessary to further quantify the acute disruption of aspects of human functioning crucial to complex activities such as attention, selective memory, and psychomotor performance.
KeywordsMDMA Ecstasy Methamphetamine Cognition Memory Psychomotor CDR
This study was funded by an Australian Research Council Grant to Professor Con Stough, Katherine Papafotiou and Edward Ogden: Grant DP0772762.
- Bosker WM, Kuypers KPC, Conen S, Ramaekers JG (2010) Dose-related effects of MDMA on psychomotor function and mood before, during, and after a night of sleep loss. Psychopharmacology: 1–8Google Scholar
- Cole J, Sumnall H, Grob C (2002) Sorted: ecstasy facts and fiction. Psychologist 15:464–467Google Scholar
- Kuypers KPC, Ramaekers JG (2007) Acute dose of MDMA (75 mg) impairs spatial memory for location but leaves contextual processing of visuospatial information unaffected. Psychopharmacol 189:557–563Google Scholar
- Lamers CTJ, Rizzo M, Bechara A, Ramaekers J (2006) Simulated driving and attention of repeat users of MDMA and THC compared with THC users and non-drug-using controls. Transportation Research Record, (1969), pp. 50–57. ISBN: 0309099781; 978-030909978-3Google Scholar
- Parrott AC, Gibbs A, Scholey AB, King R, Owens K, Swann P, Ogden E, Stough C (2011) MDMA and methamphetamine: some paradoxical negative and positive mood changes in an acute dose laboratory study. Psychopharmacology: 1–10Google Scholar
- Ryan J, Croft K, Mori T, Wesnes K, Spong J, Downey L, Kure C, Lloyd J, Stough C (2008) An examination of the effects of the antioxidant Pycnogenol® on cognitive performance, serum lipid profile, endocrinological and oxidative stress biomarkers in an elderly population. J Psychopharmacol 22:553–562PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Stough C, Downey LA, Lloyd J, Silber B, Redman S, Hutchison C, Wesnes K, Nathan PJ (2008) Examining the nootropic effects of a special extract of Bacopa monniera on human cognitive functioning: 90 day double-blind placebo-controlled randomized trial. Phytother Res 22:1629–1634PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Stough C, Downey LA, King R, Papafotiou K, Swann P, Ogden E (2011) The acute effects of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine and methamphetamine on driving: a simulator study. Accid Anal Prev. doi: 10.1016/j.aap.2011.08.017
- Thomasius R, Zapletalova P, Petersen K, Buchert R, Andresen B, Wartberg L, Nebeling B, Schmoldt A (2006) Mood, cognition and serotonin transporter availability in current and former ecstasy (MDMA) users: the longitudinal perspective. J Psychopharmacol (Oxford, England) 20:211–225CrossRefGoogle Scholar