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PMA chemical structure

IUPAC name
CAS number
ATC code


Chemical formula {{{chemical_formula}}}
Molecular weight 165.232 g/mol
Elimination half-life
Pregnancy category
Legal status
Routes of administration


8 pills of PMA recovered by the DEA


PMA 3D structure

PMA (paramethoxyamphetamine, p-methoxyamphetamine or 4-methoxyamphetamine) is a synthetic phenethylamine drug, psychostimulant and hallucinogen. It's commonly known as mitsubishi turbo or red mitsubishi. It is often synthesized starting from anethole, the flavor compound of anise and fennel. Once thought to be a human invention [4], recent research suggests PMA occurs as a trace alkaloid in plants including certain Acacia species. [1]. It is classified as a Schedule I hallucinogen under the Controlled Substances Act in the United States. Internationally, PMA is a Schedule I drug under the Convention on Psychotropic Substances [5].

PMA is sometimes found in illicit street "Ecstasy" tablets, either alone or in combination with other drugs, and has been associated with numerous adverse reactions including death. Effects of PMA ingestion include many effects of the hallucinogen amphetamines including accelerated and irregular heartbeat, blurred vision, and a strong, reportedly unpleasant feeling of intoxication. There are approximately twice as many deaths caused by PMA as by MDMA, although the actual occurrence of PMA on the market is only a fraction of that of MDMA. Though it is not actually the MDMA alone nor the PMA alone which seems to cause the toxicity but the combination of the two have a multiplied effect.

It appears that the drug elevates body temperatures dramatically; the cause of this property is suspected to be related to its ability to inhibit monoamine oxidase A and effectively cause serotonin syndrome [6]. Amphetamines, especially serotonergic analogues such as MDMA, are strongly contraindicated to MAOIs. Many amphetamines and adrenergic compounds raise body temperatures: whereas some tend to produce more euphoric activity, or peripheral vasoconstriction, or tend to favor one effect over another, it appears that PMA activates the hypothalamus much more strongly than MDMA and other drugs like ephedrine, thereby causing rapid increases in body temperature (which is the major cause of death in PMA mortalities). Many people taking PMA try to get rid of the heat by taking off their clothes, taking cold showers or wrapping themselves in wet towels, and even sometimes by shaving off their hair.

Because PMA is given out at the same places that "Ecstasy" tablets are, the risk of being severely injured or hospitalized go up. It is most often sold as "Ecstasy" pills which could be a variety of colours or logos. [7][8]. Due to the variations in street "Ecstasy" pills, the only way to reduce the risk of ingestion of PMA is to test any "Ecstasy" pill that is bought with a pill testing kit before it is consumed.

Four analogues of PMA have been reported to be sold on the black market: PMMA, PMEA[2] , 4-ETA and 4-MTA. These are the N-methyl, N-ethyl, 4-ethoxy and 4-methylthio analogues of PMA, respectively. PMMA and PMEA are reportedly weaker, more "ecstasy-like" and somewhat less dangerous than PMA itself, but can still produce nausea and hyperthermia similar to that produced by PMA, albeit at slightly higher doses. 4-ETA was briefly sold in Canada in the 1970s but little is known about it. [3] 4-MTA however is more dangerous even than PMA and produces strong stimulant effects and intense hyperthermia, but with little euphoria, and was implicated in several deaths in the late 1990s.

References Edit

  1. Clement, Beverly A., Goff, Christina M. and Forbes, T. David A. "Toxic amines and alkaloids from Acacia berlandieri". Phytochemistry 46(2), pp. 249-254 [1]
  2. John F. Casale, Patrick A. Hays, Trinette K. Spratley, and Pamela R. Smith. The Characterization of 4-Methoxy-N-ethylamphetamine Hydrochloride. DEA Microgram Journal 2006; 4(1-4)
  3. Alexander & Ann Shulgin, PIHKAL #97

External linksEdit


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