3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), commonly known as ecstasy (E), is a psychoactive drug used primarily as a recreational drug. Desired effects include increased empathy, euphoria, and heightened sensations. When taken by mouth, effects begin after 30–45 minutes and last 3–6 hours. It is also sometimes snorted or smoked.
Adverse effects of MDMA use include addiction, memory problems, paranoia, difficulty sleeping, teeth grinding, blurred vision, sweating, and a rapid heartbeat. Use may also lead to depression and fatigue. Deaths have been reported due to increased body temperature and dehydration. MDMA increases the release and slows the reuptake of the neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine in parts of the brain. It has stimulant and psychedelic effects. The initial increase is followed by a short-term decrease in the neurotransmitters. MDMA belongs to the substituted methylenedioxyphenethylamine and substituted amphetamine classes of drugs.