Encyclopedia of Psychopharmacology

2010 Edition
| Editors: Ian P. Stolerman

Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA)

  • Iain S. McGregor
  • Murray R. Thompson
  • Paul D. Callaghan
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-540-68706-1_154



MDMA is a popular recreational drug that is renowned for its ability to produce euphoria and unique prosocial effects. It is the best known and most commonly used member of the family of phenethylamines (substitutes for  amphetamines) that are sometimes known as  entactogens, empathogens, or the MDxx class of drugs. MDMA has multiple neurochemical effects, the most prominent of which is to promote the release of serotonin via an action on the  serotonin transporter (SERT). The prosocial effects of MDMA have recently been linked to the release of the neuropeptide  oxytocin. High doses of MDMA can cause long-term depletion of serotonin in the brains of laboratory animals, but whether this also occurs in humans and whether this leads to associated psychopathology such as  depression and  cognitive impairment remains unclear.

Pharmacological Properties


MDMA was...

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Iain S. McGregor
    • 1
  • Murray R. Thompson
    • 1
  • Paul D. Callaghan
    • 2
  1. 1.School of PsychologyUniversity of SydneySydneyAustralia
  2. 2.Radiopharmaceutical Research InstituteAustralian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO)SydneyAustralia