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January 24/31, 2001

Dextromethorphan and Ecstasy Pills

Author Affiliations

Stephen J.LurieMD, PhD, Senior EditorIndividualAuthorJody W.ZylkeMD, Contributing EditorIndividualAuthor


Copyright 2001 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.2001

JAMA. 2001;285(4):409-410. doi:10.1001/jama.285.4.407

To the Editor: In their Research Letter, Mr Baggott and colleagues1 report that they performed a chemical analysis of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) tablets, also known as "ecstasy," and found that such tablets frequently contain dextromethorphan. The authors imply that findings of "lethargy or hyperexcitability, tachycardia, ataxia, and nystagmus, as well as a phencyclidine-like psychosis" can occur only in dextromethorphan toxicity. Furthermore, they suggest that these findings in patients admitting ecstasy use, but in whom the results of toxicology screens are negative for MDMA and amphetamines, should lead clinicians to consider dextromethorphan toxicity. Both of these statements are misleading.

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