Hyperthermia and Ecstasy: New Case Study Offers Possible Clue to Ecstasy-caused Deaths

This is from a press release from The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health:

Death caused by the drug ecstasy (mdma) is very rare compared to the high number of users. And the reasons why some ecstasy users are especially susceptible to a fatal drug reaction are not known, though these deaths often involve severe hyperthermia (increased body temperature).

A new case study in the Journal of Forensic Sciences points to a pre-existing defect affecting temperature regulation as one factor that might contribute to some ecstasy deaths.

Working with Centre of Forensic Sciences toxicologist Teri Martin and the Office of the Chief Coroner of Ontario, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH)’s Dr. Stephen Kish described a young woman who developed fatal hyperthermia after taking ecstasy. It was later discovered at autopsy that she had an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism), a condition that can make some people less tolerant to heat.

“This single case cannot prove that hyperthyroidism contributed to the death of the ecstasy user”, said Dr. Kish, Professor of Psychiatry and Pharmacology, University of Toronto, and Head, Human Neurochemical Pathology Laboratory, CAMH, “but it does suggest what many scientists have suspected – that a pre-existing problem in temperature regulation might increase the risk of an ecstasy-triggered death. This is supported by other data showing that experimental animals that are hyperthyroid are more likely to die when exposed to ecstasy.”

All that from one case? Can you say confirmation bias?

One thought on “Hyperthermia and Ecstasy: New Case Study Offers Possible Clue to Ecstasy-caused Deaths

  1. When i use x, i always get overheated.. but its like a sign that your feeling it. My pill countn is over 90 now.

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