The effects of any drug (including ecstasy) vary from person to person. How ecstasy affects a person depends on many things including their size, weight and health, also whether the person is used to taking it and whether other drugs are taken around the same time. The effects of any drug also depend on the amount taken.
There is no safe level of drug use. Use of any drug always carries some risk—even medications can produce unwanted side effects. It is important to be careful when taking any type of drug.
The effects of ecstasy may start to be felt within 20 minutes to 1 hour after an ecstasy pill has been swallowed and may last for approximately 6 hours.
Some of the effects that may be experienced after taking ecstasy include:
A high dose of ecstasy can cause a person to overdose. This means that a person has taken more ecstasy than their body can cope with. The effects can include:
Ecstasy has also been linked to several deaths through heart attack and brain haemorrhage.
After using ecstasy, people may experience a “coming down” phase and may experience some of the following:
These effects of coming down usually begin the day after taking ecstasy and can last for several days.
There is some evidence that ecstasy can cause damage to some parts of the brain and that regular, heavy use can lead to depression.
A person taking ecstasy regularly may find that they are not eating or sleeping enough and are neglecting their health. They may become “run down”, have reduced energy levels and be more at risk for colds, flu and infections.
All areas of a person’s life can be affected by drug use.
The chances of an overdose are increased if ecstasy is taken with other stimulant drugs such as amphetamines or cocaine. This can increase effects such as heart rate, blood pressure and anxiety.
Taking ecstasy with benzodiazepines to help with the symptoms of the “comedown” can lead to a cycle of dependence on both drugs.
Using ecstasy and drinking alcohol at the same time can lead to dehydration and overheating, and can also increase the negative effects of comedown.
Taking ecstasy while on some antidepressant medication can lead to some unpleasant effects such as increased heart rate, loss of coordination, nausea and vomiting.
Read about the effects of taking drugs during pregnancy or breastfeeding.
It is dangerous to drive after using ecstasy. The effects of ecstasy, such as over-confidence and poor muscle control, can affect driving ability. People with over-confidence may take more risks when driving which increases the chances of an accident.
The symptoms of coming down and withdrawal can also affect a person’s ability to drive safely.
Read more about the effects of ecstasy on driving.
Under occupational health and safety legislation, all employees have a responsibility to make sure they look after their own and their co-workers’ safety.
The effects of ecstasy such as over-confidence and poor muscle control can affect a person’s ability to work safely and effectively. The symptoms of coming down and withdrawal can also affect a person’s ability to work safely and effectively.
Last Reviewed: 30 June 2012