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Permanent URL to this publication: http://dx.doi.org/10.5167/uzh-40820

Hysek, C M; Vollenweider, F X; Liechti, M E (2010). Effects of a beta-blocker on the cardiovascular response to MDMA (Ecstasy). Emergency Medicine Journal (EMJ), 27(8):586-589.

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BACKGROUND: MDMA (3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine, 'Ecstasy') produces tachycardia and hypertension and is rarely associated with cardiovascular and cerebrovascular complications. In clinical practice, beta-blockers are often withheld in patients with stimulant intoxication because they may increase hypertension and coronary artery vasospasm due to loss of beta(2)-mediated vasodilation and unopposed alpha-receptor activation. However, it is unknown whether beta-blockers affect the cardiovascular response to MDMA.

METHODS: The effects of the non-selective beta-blocker pindolol (20 mg) on the cardiovascular effects of MDMA (1.6 mg/kg) were investigated in a double-blind placebo-controlled crossover study in 16 healthy subjects.

RESULTS: Pindolol prevented MDMA-induced increases in heart rate. Peak values (mean+/-SD) for heart rate were 84+/-13 beats/min after MDMA vs 69+/-7 beats/min after pindolol-MDMA. In contrast, pindolol pretreatment had no effect on increases in mean arterial blood pressure (MAP) after MDMA. Peak MAP values were 115+/-11 mm Hg after MDMA vs 114+/-11 mm Hg after pindolol-MDMA. Pindolol did not change adverse effects of MDMA.

CONCLUSION: The results of this study indicate that beta-blockers may prevent increases in heart rate but not hypertensive and adverse effects of MDMA.


15 citations in Web of Science®
18 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Psychiatric University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Psychiatry, Psychotherapy, and Psychosomatics
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Date:8 April 2010
Deposited On:17 Jan 2011 07:49
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 14:30
Publisher:BMJ Publishing Group
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:10.1136/emj.2009.079905
PubMed ID:20378736

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