Effects of the α₂-adrenergic agonist clonidine on the pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine in healthy volunteers.

Hysek CM, Brugger R, Simmler LD, Bruggisser M, Donzelli M, Grouzmann E, Hoener MC, Liechti ME
J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 2012 340 (2): 286-94

PMID: 22034656 · DOI:10.1124/jpet.111.188425

The mechanism of action of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA; ecstasy) involves the carrier-mediated and potentially vesicular release of monoamines. We assessed the effects of the sympatholytic α₂-adrenergic receptor agonist clonidine (150 μg p.o.), which inhibits the neuronal vesicular release of norepinephrine, on the cardiovascular and psychotropic response to MDMA (125 mg p.o.) in 16 healthy subjects. The study used a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover design with four experimental sessions. The administration of clonidine 1 h before MDMA reduced the MDMA-induced increases in plasma norepinephrine concentrations and blood pressure but only to the extent that clonidine lowered norepinephrine levels and blood pressure compared with placebo. Thus, no interaction was found between the cardiovascular effects of the two drugs. Clonidine did not affect the psychotropic effects or pharmacokinetics of MDMA. The lack of an interaction of the effects of clonidine and MDMA indicates that vesicular release of norepinephrine, which is inhibited by clonidine, does not critically contribute to the effects of MDMA in humans. Although clonidine may be used in the treatment of stimulant-induced hypertensive reactions, the present findings do not support a role for α₂-adrenergic receptor agonists in the prevention of psychostimulant dependence.

MeSH Terms (22)

3,4-Methylenedioxyamphetamine Adrenergic alpha-2 Receptor Agonists Adult Affect Blood Pressure Body Temperature Brain Clonidine Consciousness Cross-Over Studies Double-Blind Method Drug Interactions Emotions Epinephrine Female Heart Rate Humans Male Mental Processes N-Methyl-3,4-methylenedioxyamphetamine Norepinephrine Young Adult

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