The University of Arizona

History, Pharmacology, and Prevalence
Overview of Various Other Illicit Drugs:
MDMA (Ecstasy)

MDMA (3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine) is a man-made drug that is a stimulant and a hallucinogen and has a chemical structure similar to that of amphetamine.  It is typically taken orally as a capsule or tablet.  Administration of MDMA produces an energizing effect, distortions in time and perception, and enhanced enjoyment from tactile experiences.  It affects the neurons in the brain that use serotonin to communicate with other neurons.[1]

MDMA can lead to dependence for some people.  Some of the effects of MDMA use include [1]:

  • Poor performance in cognitive or memory tasks
  • Hyperthermia
  • Increase in heart rate and blood pressure
  • Muscle tension
  • Involuntary teeth clenching
  • Nausea
  • Blurred vision
  • Faintness
  • Confusion
  • Depression
  • Sleep problems
  • Drug craving
  • Severe anxiety

Street names for MDMA include ecstasy, X, XTC, hug drug, Adam, the club drug, and lover’s speed.



  • (1) NIDA. MDMA (Ecstasy). Rockville, MD; 2007 Jun.


  • ="Ecstacy"/