Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

MDMA is also called ecstasy.

MDMA is also called ecstasy.
beginning of content

MDMA (ecstasy)

2-minute read

MDMA (ecstasy) is an illicit drug which can give users a euphoric rush after swallowing it. It has a reputation as a happy pill, but MDMA has dangerous side effects.

People have died from taking MDMA in places where it is hot or humid, such as at a dance party or nightclub.

What is MDMA?

MDMA is a stimulant drug that speeds up the messages going to and from the brain.

It is assumed that MDMA is the primary ingredient in ecstasy, however not all drugs sold as ecstasy contain MDMA.

Other drugs or ‘fillers’, such as household cleaning products, might be used instead, increasing your chance of an overdose, bad reaction or poisoning. Drugs sold as ecstasy may also contain a mix of amphetamine, paramethoxyamphetamine (PMA), ketamine or other drugs.

MDMA (ecstasy) has lots of other names, including eckies, E, disco biscuits, bikkies, XTC, pills, pingers and molly. It usually comes as a pill in a variety of colours, often with different stamps or logos on them.

MDMA effects

MDMA starts to work about 20 minutes after it is taken. Some people hallucinate, sweat, clench their jaws, grind their teeth and have tremors.

People can overheat and become dehydrated when using ecstasy in hot and humid conditions. Some people have died in this way. Drinking lots of water may be dangerous. People who take MDMA should take regular breaks to cool down, and sip water slowly.

The effects can last for up to 8 hours.

Combining MDMA with other drugs or medicines — including some antidepressants — can be dangerous.

People coming down from an ecstasy high can feel exhausted, anxious and unable to sleep. These effects can last a few days.

People who use MDMA regularly can develop high blood pressure, damaged nerves, exhaustion and cracked teeth from clenching and grinding.

People with heart disease, diabetes, epilepsy, liver problems, high blood pressure, panic attacks or a history of mental illness are at greater risk of physical and psychological harm as a result of taking MDMA.

Find out about ecstasy's mental health effects and party drugs. You can find information on getting help on the Drug Help website or by calling the National Alcohol and Other Drug Hotline on 1800 250 015.

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: January 2019

Back To Top

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Top results

MDMA - Alcohol and Drug Foundation

Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) is an an empathogen, which means it increases an individual’s feeling of empathy and compassion towards others. MDMA is commonly called and known as ecstasy.

Read more on Alcohol and Drug Foundation website

Ecstasy (MDMA) Effects, Overdose and Withdrawal | Your Room

Ecstasy and MDMA come with many short and long term side effects. Find out what to do in the case of overdose or withdrawal and places to get help.

Read more on NSW Health website

Ecstasy: what is it? -

Ecstasy is a street name for the drug MDMA (methylenedioxymethylamphetamine). It is a type of stimulant.

Read more on myDr website

MDMA-assisted therapy for PTSD edges closer - Alcohol and Drug Foundation

Phase 3 clinical trials of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are currently underway in the USA, Canada, and Israel. These trials, spearheaded by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), are the last step in determining if this treatment is safe and effective enough to merit the legal prescription of MDMA to enhance psychotherapy in the treatment of PTSD.

Read more on Alcohol and Drug Foundation website

PMA and PMMA - Alcohol and Drug Foundation

Paramethoxyamphetamine (PMA) and paramethoxymethamphetamine (PMMA) are stimulants with psychedelic effects similar to MDMA, which is the main ingredient in ecstasy.1 In fact most people who take PMA or PMMA think they are taking ecstasy.

Read more on Alcohol and Drug Foundation website

Ecstasy: effects on the body -

The effects of ecstasy may start to be felt within 20 minutes to one hour after a pill has been taken, and may last for 6 hours.

Read more on myDr website

Ecstasy, ICE and other Amphetamines TINO : Tune In Not Out

Our music section is about helping you to think about the positive ways and impact of your music engagement

Read more on Tune In Not Out website

Cocaine: use with other drugs -

Snorting and injecting cocaine can result in long-term effects on your health. Using other stimulants such as ecstasy with cocaine can increase the risk of overdose.

Read more on myDr website

New psychoactive substances - Alcohol and Drug Foundation

New psychoactive substances (NPS) are a range of drugs that have been designed to mimic established illicit drugs, such as cannabis, cocaine, ecstasy and LSD.

Read more on Alcohol and Drug Foundation website

Indigenous resources - Alcohol and Drug Foundation

With state governments and Aboriginal community controlled health organisations, the Alcohol and Drug Foundation has developed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander educational and information resources, including your community and: alcohol, ecstasy, hallucinogens, heroin, ice and speed, prescription drugs, synthetic drugs, tobacco, yarndi (cannabis).

Read more on Alcohol and Drug Foundation website

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information and advice

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo