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.
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