Background - Ecstasy is a recreational drug with an anecdotal reputation fo
r safety. However, reports of adverse effects and fatalities have increased
in the medical and popular press.
Method - Literature search and review.
Results - Acute Ecstasy toxicity does not appear to be due to overdose and
cannot be solely attributed to the nature of the usual ambient environment.
Adverse effects include hyperthermia, seizures, cardiac arrhythmias, hepat
otoxicity, hyponatraemia and many psychiatric disorders. Ecstasy causes ser
otonergic neurotoxicity in the brains of animals at doses close to those us
ed by humans, but its long-term effect on the human brain is unknown.
Conclusion - Ecstasy toxicity should be considered in the differential diag
nosis of a variety of medical and psychiatric conditions. Given its popular
ity, both the acute and the potential long-term effects are a cause for con
cern. (C) 2000 Editions scientifiques et medicales Elsevier SAS.