Memory and mood during the night and in the morning after repeated evening doses of MDMA

K.P.C. Kuypers*, M. Wingen, J.G. Ramaekers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Previously it has been shown that MDMA causes memory impairment during daytime testing. However, MDMA is usually taken in the evening or during the night. In addition, it is known that sleep deprivation also causes memory impairment. The present study aimed to assess whether evening doses of MDMA added to, or interacted with the memory impairment due to sleep deprivation. Fourteen healthy subjects participated in a double-blind, placebo-controlled, two-way cross-over study. Treatments consisted of MDMA 75 and 50 mg divided over the evening or double placebo. Memory tests and subjective measures of mood were conducted at baseline and three times post dosing that is at 6.30 pm, 9.30 pm, 1.30 am and 7 am, respectively -1.5, 1.5, 5.5 and 11 h relative to drug intake (first dose). Memory performance detoriated progessively over time as a function of sleep loss, independent of treatment. MDMA added to this impairment as indicated by a significant main effect of MDMA on verbal and spatial memory performance. Mood ratings and response speed revealed an MDMA by Time interaction. After administration of MDMA response speed improved and feelings of vigor, friendliness, elation, anxiety, confusion, arousal and positive mood increased in magnitude during the night, while all these parameters returned to placebo-like levels on the final morning session. It is concluded that evening doses of MDMA selectively impair memory performance, and that this impairment is additional to the effect of sleep deprivation on memory performance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)895-903
JournalJournal of Psychopharmacology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2008


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