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Analysis of illicit ecstasy tablets: implications for clinical management in the accident and emergency department.
  1. K Sherlock,
  2. K Wolff,
  3. A W Hay,
  4. M Conner
  1. Ethnicity and Health Unit, Faculty of Health, University of Central Lancashire, Preston.


    OBJECTIVE: To examine the composition of illicitly manufactured "ecstasy" tablets sold on the UK drugs market. METHODS: Analysis by gas chromatography of 25 illicit ecstasy tablets handed in under amnesty to Leeds Addiction Unit. RESULTS: Illicitly manufactured ecstasy tablets contain a range of ingredients, of widely differing concentrations, and even tablets with the same brand name have variable concentrations of active ingredients. Concentrations of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) more popularly known as ecstasy, varied 70-fold between tablets. Nine tablets contained neither MDMA nor related analogues. CONCLUSIONS: These results have implications for emergency workers attending to those who have become casualties of the drug ecstasy. Those claiming to have ingested ecstasy may actually have taken other agents that require different clinical management.

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