Institutional members access full text with Ovid®

Share this article on:

α1-Adrenergic Receptors Contribute to the Acute Effects of 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine in Humans

Hysek, Cédric M. PhD*; Fink, Anja E. MD*; Simmler, Linda D. PhD*; Donzelli, Massimiliano MSc*; Grouzmann, Eric PhD; Liechti, Matthias E. MD, MAS*

Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology: October 2013 - Volume 33 - Issue 5 - p 658–666
doi: 10.1097/JCP.0b013e3182979d32
Original Contributions

Preclinical studies implicate a role for α1-noradrenergic receptors in the effects of psychostimulants, including 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA, “ecstasy”). The present study evaluated the effects of the α1-noradrenergic receptor antagonist doxazosin on the acute pharmacodynamic and pharmacokinetic response to MDMA in 16 healthy subjects. Doxazosin (8 mg/d) or placebo was administered for 3 days before MDMA (125 mg) or placebo using a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, 4-session, crossover design. Doxazosin reduced MDMA-induced elevations in blood pressure, body temperature, and moderately attenuated positive mood but enhanced tachycardia associated with MDMA. The results indicate that α1-adrenergic receptors contribute to the acute cardiostimulant and to a minor extent possibly also to the thermogenic and euphoric effects of MDMA in humans.

Supplemental digital content is available in the text.

From the *Division of Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology, Department of Biomedicine, University Hospital Basel, University of Basel, Basel; and †Biomedicine Services, University Hospital, Lausanne, Switzerland.

Received May 30, 2012; accepted after revision December 3, 2012.

Reprints: Matthias E. Liechti, MD, MAS, Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology, University Hospital Basel, Hebelstrasse 2, CH-4031 Basel, Switzerland (e-mail:

This work was supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation (grant 323230_126231 to M.E.L.).

Supplemental digital content is available for this article. Direct URL citation appears in the printed text and is provided in the HTML and PDF versions of this article on the journal’s Web site (

© 2013 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.