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Article Summary


This drug looks very similar and has been sold as ecstasy. The effects are much the same as an E, but PMA is much stronger and can cause a fatal rise in body temperature. The effects of PMA also take longer to happen. Some users have taken a fatal overdose by mistakenly taking pill after pill thinking nothing is happening. There are a number of ‘designer’ or ecstasy-like drugs on the market and others are likely to be developed. PMA provides a model as to how this may increase risks especially when substituted unknowingly for ecstasy with somewhat different properties. Such drugs are likely to have limited availability at certain times.

Slang: Street names for drugs can vary around the country. Chicken yellow, chicken fever, double stacked, mitsubishi turbo, red mitsubishi, killer, para-methoxyampethamine, paramethoxymethyamphetamine, PMMA.

PMA Effects

  • Similar to ecstasy.

Chances of getting hooked
PMA is not particularly addictive but it’s possible to build up a tolerance (which means people need to take more PMA tabs to get the same level of buzz). Some psychological dependence can probably develop (with an increased desire to keep taking the drug even in spite of its potential harm).

The law
PMA and PMMA are both Class A drugs - illegal to have, give away or sell. Possession can get you up to seven years in jail. Supplying someone else, including your friends, can get you a life sentence and an unlimited fine. Some countries may even refuse visas to people with drug convictions.

PMA Appearance and use

PMA is usually a white pressed tablet. They're often underscored, 7mm in diameter and 6mm thick. They weigh about 230mg. Unusually thick compared to ecstasy; they've been nicknamed 'double stacked'. Like ecstasy, PMA is swallowed.

PMA Purity
Not enough is known about the purity of PMA. If it's being sold as ecstasy it's likely the pills are being cut with cheaper ingredients like amphetamine (i.e. speed), caffeine and starch. PMA is much stronger than ecstasy and may be mixed with it.

PMA Risks

  • As little as a quarter of a tablet (60mg) is enough to significantly increase blood pressure, body temperature and pulse rates.
  • PMA can cause muscle spasms and lots of people feel very sick after taking it.
  • The long term risks associated with PMA have yet to be studied but they're likely to be similar to ecstasy.
  • PMA is stronger than ecstasy so the risk of overheating is greater. If you feel your temperature soaring on the dance floor seek help immediately.
  • PMA affects the body's temperature control. Dancing for long periods in a hot atmosphere increases the chances of overheating and dehydration. Take regular breaks to cool down.
  • Watch out for your mates. People can get so out of their faces they don't realize they're in danger of overheating or dehydration.
  • Be careful though as drinking too much water can also be dangerous or even fatal. PMA can cause the body to release a hormone which suppresses the production of urine. This means that if you drink a few pints of liquid too quickly, water builds up in the body and interferes with your body's salt balance. This can directly affect the brain and this can be as deadly as not drinking enough water. Reduce the risks of this happening by remembering to sip no more than a pint of non-alcoholic fluid every hour.
  • Anyone using too much can get paranoid and depressed.
  • Some long-term users report getting colds, flu and sore throats more often.
  • Anyone with a heart condition, blood pressure problems, epilepsy or asthma can have a very dangerous reaction to the drug.
  • Not enough is known about the effects PMA can have on pregnancy and the developing foetus.

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