Amphetamine (‘Speed’), methamphetamine (‘Ice’) and its congener 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA; ‘Ecstasy’) are illicit drugs abused worldwide for their euphoric and stimulant effects. Despite compelling evidence for chronic MDMA neurotoxicity in animal models, the physiological consequences of such toxicity in humans remain unclear. In addition, distinct differences in the metabolism and pharmacokinetics of MDMA between species and different strains of animals prevent the rationalisation of realistic human dose paradigms in animal studies. Here, we attempt to review amphetamine toxicity and in particular MDMA toxicity in the pathogenesis of exemplary human pathologies, independently of confounding environmental factors such as poly-drug use and drug purity.
©2011 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin New York