Can You Overdose On Ecstasy (Molly)?
Ecstasy, also known as molly or MDMA, is an illegal synthetic drug often used for its euphoric effects. However, ecstasy can also have serious side effects, including overdose.1 While a fatal ecstasy overdose is rare, it can occur.1
This page will explain more about ecstasy overdose symptoms, risk factors, and what to do if someone is overdosing on ecstasy.
Ecstasy (Molly) Overdose Symptoms
A person can feel the effects of ecstasy within 45 minutes or so of taking a single dose.2 Overdose on ecstasy is uncommon, though possible, and it’s even more rare for an overdose to be life-threatening.
The symptoms of an ecstasy overdose can vary depending on the amount of the drug taken and other factors, such as a person’s overall health and any other substances used. Overdose symptoms include:1,2
- High blood pressure.
- Panic attacks.
- Loss of consciousness.
Is an Ecstasy Overdose Fatal?
While it is rare, high doses of ecstasy can result in an overdose that has the potential to be life-threatening.2 The risk of fatal overdose increases when ecstasy is taken with other substances, such as cocaine, amphetamines or methamphetamine.3 Furthermore, ecstasy tablets are very rarely pure MDMA. They are more often cut with other substances, such as fentanyl, which can result in potentially deadly outcomes.1,2
Ecstasy is often used in hot and crowded places, like clubs or concerts. These environmental conditions, combined with the effects of the stimulant properties of ecstasy, can result in hyperthermia (sharp increase in body temperature)1 that can be exacerbated by dehydration and may lead to muscle breakdown or an imbalance in electrolytes (i.e., hyponatremia) and may even lead to kidney failure.1
Further, an overdose may also significantly increase a person’s heart rate and blood pressure potentially contributing to cardiovascular disturbances such as cardiac dysrhythmias, heart attack, aortic dissection, or intracranial hemorrhage.3
Ecstasy Overdose Risk Factors
While ecstasy has various adverse side effects, other factors may increase the risk of overdose. These include:
- Use of ecstasy with other substances. Combining ecstasy with substances such as marijuana, alcohol, and amphetamines can increase the risk of adverse health outcomes, including overdose.1
- “Piggybacking” or “stacking” ecstasy. Once the body has metabolized ecstasy, the byproducts interfere with the body’s ability to metabolize MDMA further. Taking a lot of ecstasy over a short period of time (piggybacking) or taking three or more tablets all at once (stacking) can result in dangerously high levels of ecstasy in the blood, increasing the risk of experiencing toxic effects.1,2
- Environmental factors. Ecstasy is most often taken in places like clubs, concerts, or parties, where people also engage in vigorous activity. The combination of the drug’s effects and hot, crowded environment can contribute to the risk of dangerous outcomes.1
What to Do if Someone is Overdosing on Ecstasy
If you suspect someone has overdosed on ecstasy, consider it a medical emergency, and call 911 right away.4 When you speak to 911, make sure to give any information about the substances the person overdosing has used; this will help the paramedics provide the best possible care.
Treating Ecstasy Misuse in Nevada
Desert Hope Treatment Center in Las Vegas, Nevada provides treatment for substance use disorders, including the use of Ecstasy. At our drug rehab in Nevada, we use a range of effective addition-focused evidence-based healthcare. We offer a range of levels of care, such as medical detox, inpatient treatment, outpatient treatment, and sober living.
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