Publications by authors named "Yasmin Schmid"

35 Publications

Genetic influence of CYP2D6 on pharmacokinetics and acute subjective effects of LSD in a pooled analysis.

Sci Rep 2021 May 25;11(1):10851. Epub 2021 May 25.

Division of Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology, Department of Biomedicine and Department of Clinical Research, University Hospital Basel, Schanzenstrasse 55, 4056, Basel, Switzerland.

Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) is a classic psychedelic substance that is used recreationally and investigated in psychiatric research. There are no pharmacogenetic studies on LSD. In vitro metabolic studies indicate that several cytochrome P450 (CYP) isoforms (e.g., CYP2D6, CYP1A2, and CYP2C9) are involved in LSD metabolism, but in vivo data are scarce. The present study examined the influence of genetic polymorphisms of CYP genes on the pharmacokinetics and acute effects of LSD in healthy subjects. We identified common genetic variants of CYPs (CYP2D6, CYP1A2, CYP2C9, CYP2C19, and CYP2B6) in 81 healthy subjects who were pooled from four randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind Phase 1 studies. We found that genetically determined CYP2D6 functionality significantly influenced the pharmacokinetics of LSD. Individuals with no functional CYP2D6 (i.e., poor metabolizers) had longer LSD half-lives and approximately 75% higher parent drug and main metabolite 2-oxo-3-hydroxy LSD area-under-the-curve blood plasma concentrations compared with carriers of functional CYP2D6. Non-functional CYP2D6 metabolizers also exhibited greater alterations of mind and longer subjective effect durations in response to LSD compared with functional CYP2D6 metabolizers. No effect on the pharmacokinetics or acute effects of LSD were observed with other CYPs. These findings indicate that genetic polymorphisms of CYP2D6 significantly influence the pharmacokinetic and subjective effects of LSD. Given the potential therapeutic use of psychedelics, including LSD, the role of pharmacogenetic tests prior to LSD-assisted psychotherapy needs to be further investigated.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-90343-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8149637PMC
May 2021

Acute subjective effects in LSD- and MDMA-assisted psychotherapy.

J Psychopharmacol 2021 Apr 8;35(4):362-374. Epub 2020 Oct 8.

Department of Biomedicine, University Hospital Basel, Basel, Switzerland.

Background: Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) and 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) were used in psychotherapy in the 1960s-1980s, and are currently being re-investigated as treatments for several psychiatric disorders. In Switzerland, limited medical use of these substances is possible in patients not responding to other treatments (compassionate use).

Methods: This study aimed to describe patient characteristics, treatment indications and acute alterations of mind in patients receiving LSD (100-200 µg) and/or MDMA (100-175 mg) within the Swiss compassionate use programme from 2014-2018. Acute effects were assessed using the 5 Dimensions of Altered States of Consciousness scale and the Mystical Experience Questionnaire, and compared with those in healthy volunteers administered with LSD or MDMA and patients treated alone with LSD in clinical trials.

Results: Eighteen patients (including 12 women and six men, aged 29-77 years) were treated in group settings. Indications mostly included posttraumatic stress disorder and major depression. Generally, a drug-assisted session was conducted every 3.5 months after 3-10 psychotherapy sessions. LSD induced pronounced alterations of consciousness on the 5 Dimensions of Altered States of Consciousness scale, and mystical-type experiences with increases in all scales on the Mystical Experience Questionnaire. Effects were largely comparable between patients in the compassionate use programme and patients or healthy subjects treated alone in a research setting.

Conclusion: LSD and MDMA are currently used medically in Switzerland mainly in patients with posttraumatic stress disorder and depression in group settings, producing similar acute responses as in research subjects. The data may serve as a basis for further controlled studies of substance-assisted psychotherapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0269881120959604DOI Listing
April 2021

MDMA-related presentations to the emergency departments of the European Drug Emergencies Network plus (Euro-DEN Plus) over the four-year period 2014-2017.

Clin Toxicol (Phila) 2021 02 17;59(2):131-137. Epub 2020 Jul 17.

Division of Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology, Institute of Pharmacological Sciences of Southern Switzerland, Ente Ospedaliero Cantonale, Lugano, Switzerland.

Context: 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) remains one of the most commonly used recreational drugs in Europe. Monitoring of Emergency Department (ED) presentations with acute toxicity associated with MDMA is important to determine trends in MDMA use and harms.

Methods: Data were extracted from the European Drug Emergencies Network (Euro-DEN) Plus database for all ED presentations with acute toxicity involving MDMA use, alone or in combination with other substances, between 1 January 2014 and 31 December 2017. Geographical distribution, time trends, patient demographics, clinical features, management and outcome were analysed.

Results: Out of 23,947 presentations, 2013 (8.4%) involved MDMA, used alone (88, 4.4%) or with other substances (1925, 95.6%). The proportion of MDMA presentations varied by country, from over 15% in France to less than 5% in Norway. For the 15 sentinel centres where data were available for all four years, MDMA-related presentations peaked in 2016 (10.4% 8.1% in 2015,  < 0.0001), thereafter decreasing in 2017 (8.2%,  = 0.0002). 1436 (71.3%) presentations involved males. Females were significantly younger than males (median 23 years, interquartile range, IQR, 20-27 years, median 25 years, IQR 21-30 years,  < 0.0001). Compared to presentations of acute toxicity with lone-use cocaine, presentations with lone-use MDMA occurred more frequently during the weekend (58.0% 43.9%,  = 0.02), were more frequently medically discharged directly from the ED (74.7% 62.4%,  = 0.03), and less frequently received sedation (43.5% 66.5%,  = 0.003).

Conclusions: This large multicentre series of MDMA presentations to EDs showed geographical variation and changes in time trends and in patient demographics. Triangulation with data from complementary sources including seizures, prevalence of use and wastewater analysis, will enable a greater understanding of the public health implications of MDMA use in Europe.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15563650.2020.1784914DOI Listing
February 2021

Emergency department presentations related to acute toxicity following recreational use of cannabis products in Switzerland.

Drug Alcohol Depend 2020 01 7;206:107726. Epub 2019 Nov 7.

Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology, Department of General Internal Medicine, Inselspital, Bern University Hospital, University of Bern, Freiburgstrasse 15, 3010 Bern, Switzerland; Institute of Pharmacology, University of Bern, Freiburgstrasse 15, 3010, Bern, Switzerland. Electronic address:

Background: Concomitant use of cannabis and other psychoactive substances is common and it is often difficult to differentiate its acute effects from those of other substances. This study aimed to characterize the acute toxicity of cannabis with and without co-use of other substances.

Methods: Retrospective analysis of cases presenting at the emergency departments of three large hospitals in Switzerland due to acute toxicity related to cannabis recreational use.

Results: Among 717 attendances related to acute cannabis toxicity, 186 (26 %) were due to use of cannabis alone. The median patient age was 26 years (range 14-68), and 73 % were male. Commonly reported symptoms/signs in lone-cannabis cases included nausea/vomiting (26 %), palpitations (25 %), anxiety (23 %), and chest pain (15 %); there were no fatalities and most intoxications were of minor severity (61 %). Most patients (83 %) using cannabis alone were discharged from the emergency department, 8 % were referred to psychiatric, and two (1 %) to the intensive care; severe complications included psychosis (7 %), coma (6 %), and seizures (5 %) and one patient (<1 %) required intubation. Lone-cannabis patients presented more often with palpitations, anxiety, panic attacks, and chest pain than patients in the co-use group, whereas the latter presented more often with impaired consciousness, agitation, respiratory depression and hallucinations, and were more often admitted to psychiatric or intensive care.

Conclusion: Intoxication with cannabis alone was mostly associated with minor toxicity. Nevertheless, severe complications and cases requiring admission to intensive or psychiatric care were also reported, which indicates that intoxication with cannabis alone does not exclude considerable health risks.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2019.107726DOI Listing
January 2020

Pharmacokinetics and phenotyping properties of the Basel phenotyping cocktail combination capsule in healthy male adults.

Br J Clin Pharmacol 2020 02 12;86(2):352-361. Epub 2019 Dec 12.

Division of Clinical Pharmacology & Toxicology, University Hospital Basel, Switzerland.

Aims: We compared the phenotyping metrics of a combination capsule formulation to its individual components of the newly composed Basel phenotyping cocktail. Moreover, we investigated a reduced sampling regimen for clinical applications.

Methods: We performed in vitro experiments and a crossover pharmacokinetic study in twelve healthy male subjects to compare the Basel phenotyping cocktail capsule containing 6 cytochrome P450 (CYP) probe drugs with individual administration of the same drugs. Parent compounds and selected metabolites were determined by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. Metabolic ratios (MR) for are under the curve (AUC) and single time point measurements and their correlation were determined.

Results: Experiments with human liver microsomes and primary human hepatocytes in 3D co-culture confirmed that flurbiprofen is a suitable CYP2C9 substrate. Both cocktail formulations (capsule and individual probe drug administration) were well-tolerated and yielded reproducible MRs, which were almost identical. Correlations between single time point ratios and the corresponding AUC ratios depended on the sampling time point and the concentration time curve of the probe drugs. The MR of the capsule (Spearman rank correlation coefficient, R : 0.77-0.97) as well as the individual components (R : 0.69-0.99) correlated best at 6 h post-treatment considering all 6 CYPs. Moreover, the 2-h time points of the capsule agreed suitably with the AUC; however, the MR of omeprazole could not be determined for 10 out of 12 subjects.

Conclusion: The capsule is easy to swallow, well tolerated and provides reliable estimates for CYP activity. The optimal sampling point for the capsule formulation is 6 h after intake.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/bcp.14157DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7015750PMC
February 2020

[Knockout Drugs: Diagnostics in the Emergency Unit and Clinical Practice].

Praxis (Bern 1994) 2019 Sep;108(13):869-876

Abteilung für Klinische Pharmakologie & Toxikologie, Universitätsspital Basel.

Knockout Drugs: Diagnostics in the Emergency Unit and Clinical Practice Every now and then, physicians are challenged with date rape drugs. If there is a suspicion of substance administration, the question of involving forensic medicine is commonly raised. In obscure situations or questionable offences, however, patients may wish for an initial diagnosis in the emergency department or the private practice. The physicians are often greatly challenged by the variety of substances, the limited analytical methods and difficulties with the interpretion of results. The major goal of this article is to present diagnostic options including their limitations. An overview of frequently involved substances is provided. Particular focus will be placed on practical aspects, including questions regarding pre-analytics and health insurance coverage.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1024/1661-8157/a003306DOI Listing
September 2019

Emergency department presentations related to abuse of prescription and over-the-counter drugs in Switzerland: time trends, sex and age distribution.

Swiss Med Wkly 2019 Jul 24;149:w20056. Epub 2019 Jul 24.

Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology, Department of General Internal Medicine, Inselspital, Bern University Hospital, University of Bern, Switzerland / Institute of Pharmacology, University of Bern, Switzerland.

Aims Of The Study: To analyse emergency department (ED) presentations related to acute medical problems after recreational use of prescription/over-the-counter (OTC) drugs in two major Swiss hospitals in order to identify the prevalence of specific drugs, vulnerable groups, time trends and local differences which could have major public health implications.

Methods: Retrospective analysis of cases presenting with signs/symptoms consistent with acute toxicity due to recreational use of prescription/OTC drugs from May 2012 to August 2017 at the ED of the University Hospital of Bern and from October 2013 to July 2017 at the ED of the University Hospital Basel. We investigated time trends, sex differences, patient characteristics and consumption patterns within three age groups (≥16 to <36 years; ≥36 to <56 years; ≥56 years).

Results: During the study period, 344 cases were included out of 1715 ED attendances due to acute drug toxicity and a total of 412,557 ED presentations. The use of prescription drugs in conjunction with illegal drugs was reported in nearly half the cases. The most frequently reported prescription drugs were benzodiazepines (64%, n = 220) and methadone (13%, n = 45). Forty-eight percent (n = 166) of all presentations occurred within the youngest age group. The analysis of time trends showed a significant increase in presentations in the youngest and the oldest groups in Basel (both p <0.05), while the trend remained stable over time in Bern for all age groups. While the number of presentations remained constant over time for men and women in Bern, a significant increase was found for the female cohort in Basel (p <0.05). Patients in all age groups presented with toxicities of predominantly minor severity.

Conclusion: The prescription/OTC drugs most frequently leading to ED presentations after recreational use were sedative substances. A large proportion of the patients belonged to the youngest age group. A significant increase in presentations was seen in the youngest and oldest age groups and within women in Basel. This information can be used to inform health care providers so that they can adapt their prevention and treatment strategies in their communities.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4414/smw.2019.20056DOI Listing
July 2019

Sex differences in the pharmacology of itch therapies-a narrative review.

Curr Opin Pharmacol 2019 06 9;46:122-142. Epub 2019 Jul 9.

Department of Dermatology, University Hospital Basel, Switzerland. Electronic address:

Background: Chronic itch is the most common skin-related condition, associated with a high psychosocial and economic burden. In recent years, increasing evidence of sex differences in the perception, clinical presentation and treatment requirements of itch points towards potential benefits when using sex-adapted therapies. It is well-known that body composition, absorption, metabolism, elimination and adverse drug reactions (ADRs) differ between sexes, but only little is known about the impact of sex in the pharmacology of itch treatments, which could help to rationalise sex-adapted treatment strategies.

Aim: To evaluate and review sex effects in the pharmacokinetics and /-dynamics of drugs used to treat itch.

Methods: In this narrative review we performed a PubMed and MEDLINE (Ovid) search using the terms (itch OR pruritus) AND (gender OR sex) AND (drug OR medication OR pharmacokinetics OR pharmacodynamics). Additional searches were performed for the topical and systemic drugs recommended by the European Guideline on Chronic Pruritus.

Results: We found numerous reports with variable levels of evidence of sex effects with respect to the pharmacokinetics and/or pharmacodynamics of 14 drug classes used for the treatment of itch, including a total of 19 systemic and 3 topical drugs. Women seem to present higher plasma levels of several drugs used in itch treatment, including tri- and tetracyclic antidepressants (e.g. doxepin, amitriptyline, mirtazapine), serotonin reuptake inhibitors (e.g. paroxetine, sertraline, fluoxetine), immunosuppressive drugs (e.g. cyclosporine, mycophenolate mofetil), serotonin receptor antagonists (e.g. ondansetron) and betablockers (e.g. propranolol). Adverse drug reactions (ADRs) were generally more common in women. Being female was reported to be an independent risk factor for QTc-prolongation associated with antihistamines and tetracyclic antidepressants. Additionally, women seem to be more prone to sedative effects of antihistamines, and to suffer from a higher frequency as well as severity of side effects with systemic calcineurin inhibitors, opioid agonists, and opioid antagonists. Women were also sensitised more often to topically applied drugs. Of note, apart from only one experimental study with capsaicin, none of these reports were designed specifically to assess the effect of sex (and gender) in the treatment of itch.

Discussion/conclusion: Our review supports previous reports that sex is of importance in the pharmacokinetics and /-dynamics of several drugs used to treat itch although those drugs were mostly evaluated for non-itch indications. However, the results are limited by methodological limitations evident in most studies such as underrepresentation of women in clinical trials. This emphasises the need to study the impact of sex (and gender) in future itch trials to yield better outcomes and prevent ADRs in both sexes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.coph.2019.05.008DOI Listing
June 2019

Microdosed midazolam for the determination of cytochrome P450 3A activity: Development and clinical evaluation of a buccal film.

Eur J Pharm Sci 2019 Jul 16;135:77-82. Epub 2019 May 16.

Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Division of Pharmaceutical Technology, University of Basel, Klingelbergstrasse 50, 4056 Basel, Switzerland. Electronic address:

Cytochrome P450 3A (CYP3A) isozymes metabolize about 50% of all marketed drugs. Their activity can be modulated up to 400-fold, which has great impact on individual dose requirements for CYP3A substrates. The activity of CYP3A can be monitored using the CYP3A substrate midazolam. To avoid pharmacological midazolam effects during phenotyping, a microdosing approach is preferred. However, the preparation of microdosed dosage forms remains a challenge. Fast dissolving buccal films are therefore proposed to facilitate this task. It was the aim of the present study to clinically evaluate a novel buccal film containing microdoses of midazolam for assessment of CYP3A activity. In a randomized, open-label crossover design, the pharmacokinetics of midazolam and its active hydroxy-metabolite, 1'‑OH‑midazolam, was assessed in 12 healthy volunteers after administration of single microdoses of midazolam (30 μg) as buccal film or buccal solution. The buccal film did rapidly disintegrate, was well tolerated, and no adverse events occurred. The film and the solution showed very similar midazolam plasma concentration-time profiles but were not bioequivalent according to EMA and FDA guidelines. For C, AUC, and AUC the geometric mean ratios of film to solution, with their 90% confidence intervals in parentheses, were 1.15 (1.00-1.32), 1.16 (1.04-1.28), and 1.19 (1.08-1.31), respectively. As a proxy for CYP3A activity, molar metabolic ratios of midazolam and 1'‑OH‑midazolam were analyzed over time, which revealed good correlations already 1 h or 2 h after application of the film or the solution, respectively. The tested midazolam buccal film is a convenient dosage form that facilitates administration of a phenotyping probe considerably and may potentially be used in special patient populations such as pediatric patients. Clinical Trials.gov Identifier: NCT03204578.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejps.2019.05.010DOI Listing
July 2019

Hypersensitivity reaction with multi-organ failure following re-exposure to rifampicin: case report and review of the literature including WHO spontaneous safety reports.

BMC Pharmacol Toxicol 2019 Feb 12;20(1). Epub 2019 Feb 12.

Department of Clinical Pharmacology & Toxicology, University Hospital Basel, Basel, Switzerland.

Background: True hypersensitivity reactions to rifampicin are relatively rare, nonetheless severe manifestations mostly involving a single organ have been documented. We report a case of acute multi-organ failure occurring after a medication error with re-exposure to rifampicin.

Case Presentation: A 68-year old patient developed acute hypersensitivity pneumonitis, acute renal failure, acute liver failure and haemolytic anemia within hours after a second re-exposure to Rifampicin for the treatment of a hip prosthesis infection with Staphylococcus epidermidis. A recent rifampicin exposure 1 week earlier had resulted in a massive rise of CRP levels without organ manifestations. Nine years previously, the patient had developed a multi-organ hypersensitivity reaction 8 days after commencing treatment with rifampicin for pulmonary tuberculosis; and 23 years previously he had received rifampicin without problems. The organ-specific hypersensitivity reactions were largely reversible after withdrawal of rifampicin and treatment with steroids. A review of the literature and summary of WHO spontaneous safety reports is also given.

Conclusions: Re-exposure to rifampicin in sensitised individuals may cause acute severe hypersensitivity reactions. Due to its indications in the management of mycobacterial and implant-associated infections, rifampicin is a drug which might be given decades apart, which poses a risk that information about previous intolerance is lost.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s40360-019-0289-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6373162PMC
February 2019

Pharmacokinetics of oxycodone/naloxone and its metabolites in patients with end-stage renal disease during and between haemodialysis sessions.

Nephrol Dial Transplant 2019 04;34(4):692-702

Division of Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology, Department of Biomedicine and Department of Clinical Research, University Hospital Basel, University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland.

Background: The pharmacokinetics of oxycodone in patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) requiring haemodialysis are largely unknown. Therefore, we investigated the pharmacokinetics of oxycodone/naloxone prolonged release and their metabolites in patients with ESRD during and between haemodialysis sessions.

Methods: Single doses of oxycodone/naloxone (5/2.5 or 10/5 mg) were administered in nine patients with ESRD using a cross-over design on the day of dialysis and on a day between dialysis sessions. Plasma, dialysate and urine concentrations of oxycodone, naloxone and their metabolites were determined up to 48 h post-dosing using a liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry system.

Results: Haemodialysis performed 6-10 h after dosing removed ∼10% of the administered dose of oxycodone predominantly as unconjugated oxycodone and noroxycodone or conjugated oxymorphone and noroxymorphone. The haemodialysis clearance of oxycodone based on its recovery in dialysate was (mean ± SD) 8.4 ± 2.1 L/h. The geometric mean (coefficient of variation) plasma elimination half-life of oxycodone during the 4-h haemodialysis period was 3.9 h (39%) which was significantly shorter than the 5.7 h (22%) without haemodialysis. Plasma levels of the active metabolite oxymorphone in its unconjugated form were very low.

Conclusions: Oxycodone is removed during haemodialysis. The pharmacokinetics including the relatively short half-life of oxycodone in patients with ESRD with or without haemodialysis and the absence of unconjugated active metabolites indicate that oxycodone can be used at usual doses in patients requiring dialysis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ndt/gfy285DOI Listing
April 2019

Human Metabolome Changes after a Single Dose of 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) with Special Focus on Steroid Metabolism and Inflammation Processes.

J Proteome Res 2018 08 13;17(8):2900-2907. Epub 2018 Jul 13.

Department of Forensic Pharmacology & Toxicology, Zurich Institute of Forensic Medicine , University of Zurich , 8057 Zurich , Switzerland.

The intake of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) is known to increase several endogenous substances involved in steroid and inflammation pathways. Untargeted metabolomics screening approaches can determine biochemical changes after drug exposure and can reveal new pathways, which might be involved in the pharmacology and toxicology of a drug of abuse. We analyzed plasma samples from a placebo-controlled crossover study of a single intake of MDMA. Plasma samples from a time point before and three time points after the intake of a single dose of 125 mg MDMA were screened for changes of endogenous metabolites. An untargeted metabolomics approach on a high-resolution quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometer coupled to liquid chromatography with two different chromatographic systems (reversed-phase and hydrophobic interaction liquid chromatography) was applied. Over 10 000 features of the human metabolome were detected. Hence, 28 metabolites were identified, which showed significant changes after administration of MDMA compared with placebo. The analysis revealed an upregulation of cortisol and pregnenolone sulfate 4 h after MDMA intake, suggesting increased stress and serotonergic activity. Furthermore, calcitriol levels were decreased after the intake of MDMA. Calcitriol is involved in the upregulation of trophic factors, which have protective effects on brain dopamine neurons. The inflammation mediators hydroxyeicosatetraenoic acid, dihydroxyeicosatetraenoic acid, and octadecadienoic acid were found to be upregulated after the intake of MDMA compared with placebo, which suggested a stimulation of inflammation pathways.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.jproteome.8b00438DOI Listing
August 2018

Acute Effects of Methylphenidate, Modafinil, and MDMA on Negative Emotion Processing.

Int J Neuropsychopharmacol 2018 04;21(4):345-354

Department of Psychiatry, University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland.

Background: Stimulants such as methylphenidate and modafinil are frequently used as cognitive enhancers in healthy people, whereas 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (ecstasy) is proposed to enhance mood and empathy in healthy subjects. However, comparative data on the effects of methylphenidate and modafinil on negative emotions in healthy subjects have been partially missing. The aim of this study was to compare the acute effects of methylphenidate and modafinil on the neural correlates of fearful face processing using 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine as a positive control.

Methods: Using a double-blind, within-subject, placebo-controlled, cross-over design, 60 mg methylphenidate, 600 mg modafinil, and 125 mg 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine were administrated to 22 healthy subjects while performing an event-related fMRI task to assess brain activation in response to fearful faces. Negative mood states were assessed with the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory and subjective ratings.

Results: Relative to placebo, modafinil, but not methylphenidate or 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine, increased brain activation within a limbic-cortical-striatal-pallidal-thalamic circuit during fearful face processing. Modafinil but not methylphenidate also increased amygdala responses to fearful faces compared with 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine. Furthermore, activation in the middle and inferior frontal gyrus in response to fearful faces correlated positively with subjective feelings of fearfulness and depressiveness after modafinil administration.

Conclusions: Despite the cognitive enhancement effects of 600 mg modafinil in healthy people, potential adverse effects on emotion processing should be considered.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ijnp/pyx112DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5887414PMC
April 2018

Long-lasting subjective effects of LSD in normal subjects.

Psychopharmacology (Berl) 2018 02 16;235(2):535-545. Epub 2017 Sep 16.

Division of Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology, Department of Biomedicine, Department of Clinical Research, University Hospital Basel, University of Basel, Schanzenstrasse 55, 4056, Basel, Switzerland.

Rationale: Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) and other serotonergic hallucinogens can induce profound alterations of consciousness and mystical-type experiences, with reportedly long-lasting effects on subjective well-being and personality.

Methods: We investigated the lasting effects of a single dose of LSD (200 μg) that was administered in a laboratory setting in 16 healthy participants. The following outcome measures were assessed before and 1 and 12 months after LSD administration: Persisting Effects Questionnaire (PEQ), Mysticism Scale (MS), Death Transcendence Scale (DTS), NEO-Five Factor Inventory (NEO-FFI), and State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI).

Results: On the PEQ, positive attitudes about life and/or self, positive mood changes, altruistic/positive social effects, positive behavioral changes, and well-being/life satisfaction significantly increased at 1 and 12 months and were subjectively attributed by the subjects to the LSD experience. Five-Dimensions of Altered States of Consciousness (5D-ASC) total scores, reflecting acutely induced alterations in consciousness, and Mystical Experience Questionnaire (MEQ30) total scores correlated with changes in well-being/life satisfaction 12 months after LSD administration. No changes in negative attitudes, negative mood, antisocial/negative social effects, or negative behavior were attributed to the LSD experience. After 12 months, 10 of 14 participants rated their LSD experience as among the top 10 most meaningful experiences in their lives. Five participants rated the LSD experience among the five most spiritually meaningful experiences in their lives. On the MS and DTS, ratings of mystical experiences significantly increased 1 and 12 months after LSD administration compared with the pre-LSD screening. No relevant changes in personality measures were found.

Conclusions: In healthy research subjects, the administration of a single dose of LSD (200 μg) in a safe setting was subjectively considered a personally meaningful experience that had long-lasting subjective positive effects.

Trial Registration: Registration identification number: NCT01878942.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00213-017-4733-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5813062PMC
February 2018

First Time View on Human Metabolome Changes after a Single Intake of 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine in Healthy Placebo-Controlled Subjects.

J Proteome Res 2017 09 9;16(9):3310-3320. Epub 2017 Aug 9.

Department of Forensic Pharmacology & Toxicology, Zurich Institute of Forensic Medicine, University of Zurich ,Winterthurerstrasse 190/52, 8057 Zurich, Switzerland.

3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA; "ecstasy") is widely consumed recreationally. Little is known about its effects on the human metabolome. Mapping biochemical changes after drug exposure can complement traditional approaches by revealing potential biomarkers of organ toxicity or discovering new metabolomic features in a time- and dose-dependent manner. We aimed to analyze for the first time plasma samples from a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover study in healthy adults to explore changes in endogenous plasma metabolites following a single intake of MDMA. Plasma samples from 15 subjects taken at four different time points were analyzed with the commercially available AbsoluteIDQ kit (Biocrates). Time series analysis revealed a total of nine metabolites, which showed a significant concentration change after MDMA administration compared with placebo. Paired t tests of the single time points showed statistically significant concentration changes mainly of glycerophospholipids and the metabolic ratio of methionine-sulfoxide over methionine. Changes of this metabolic ratio may be indicative for changes in systemic oxidative stress levels, and the increased amount of glycerophospholipids could be interpreted as an upregulation of energy production. Baseline samples within the experimental study design were crucial for evaluation of metabolomics data as interday individuality within subjects was high otherwise resulting in overestimations of the findings.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.jproteome.7b00294DOI Listing
September 2017

Direct comparison of the acute subjective, emotional, autonomic, and endocrine effects of MDMA, methylphenidate, and modafinil in healthy subjects.

Psychopharmacology (Berl) 2018 02 27;235(2):467-479. Epub 2017 May 27.

Division of Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology, Department of Biomedicine, Department of Clinical Research, University Hospital Basel and University of Basel, Schanzenstrasse 55, CH-4056, Basel, Switzerland.

Rationale: 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) is used recreationally and investigated as an adjunct to psychotherapy. Methylphenidate and modafinil are psychostimulants that are used to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and narcolepsy, respectively, but they are also misused as cognitive enhancers. Little is known about differences in the acute effects of equally cardiostimulant doses of these stimulant-type substances compared directly within the same subjects.

Methods: We investigated the acute autonomic, subjective, endocrine, and emotional effects of single doses of MDMA (125 mg), methylphenidate (60 mg), modafinil (600 mg), and placebo in a double-blind, cross-over study in 24 healthy participants. Acute drug effects were tested using psychometric scales, the Facial Emotion Recognition Task (FERT), and the Sexual Arousal and Desire Inventory (SADI).

Results: All active drugs produced comparable hemodynamic and adverse effects. MDMA produced greater increases in pupil dilation, subjective good drug effects, drug liking, happiness, trust, well-being, and alterations in consciousness than methylphenidate or modafinil. Only MDMA reduced subjective anxiety and impaired fear recognition and led to misclassifications of emotions as happy on the FERT. On the SADI, only MDMA produced sexual arousal-like effects. Only MDMA produced marked increases in cortisol, prolactin, and oxytocin. In contrast to MDMA, methylphenidate increased subjective anxiety, and methylphenidate and modafinil increased misclassifications of emotions as angry on the FERT. Modafinil had no significant subjective drug effects but significant sympathomimetic and adverse effects.

Conclusions: MDMA induced subjective, emotional, sexual, and endocrine effects that were clearly distinct from those of methylphenidate and modafinil at the doses used.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00213-017-4650-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5813072PMC
February 2018

Comparative Effects of Methylphenidate, Modafinil, and MDMA on Response Inhibition Neural Networks in Healthy Subjects.

Int J Neuropsychopharmacol 2017 09;20(9):712-720

Department of Psychiatry (UPK), University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland; Division of Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Basel and Department of Biomedicine and Department of Clinical Research, University Hospital Basel, Basel, Switzerland.

Background: Psychostimulants such as methylphenidate and modafinil are increasingly used by healthy people for cognitive enhancement purposes, whereas the acute effect of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (ecstasy) on cognitive functioning in healthy subjects remains unclear. This study directly compared the acute effects of methylphenidate, modafinil, and 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine on the neural mechanisms underlying response inhibition in healthy subjects.

Methods: Using a double-blind, within-subject, placebo-controlled, cross-over design, methylphenidate, modafinil, and 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine were administrated to 21 healthy subjects while performing a go/no-go event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging task to assess brain activation during motor response inhibition.

Results: Relative to placebo, methylphenidate and modafinil but not 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine improved inhibitory performance. Methylphenidate significantly increased activation in the right middle frontal gyrus, middle/superior temporal gyrus, inferior parietal lobule, presupplementary motor area, and anterior cingulate cortex compared with placebo. Methylphenidate also induced significantly higher activation in the anterior cingulate cortex and presupplementary motor area and relative to modafinil. Relative to placebo, modafinil significantly increased activation in the right middle frontal gyrus and superior/inferior parietal lobule, while 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine significantly increased activation in the right middle/inferior frontal gyrus and superior parietal lobule.

Conclusions: Direct comparison of methylphenidate, modafinil, and 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine revealed broad recruitment of fronto-parietal regions but specific effects of methylphenidate on middle/superior temporal gyrus, anterior cingulate cortex, and presupplementary motor area activation, suggesting dissociable modulations of response inhibition networks and potentially the superiority of methylphenidate in the enhancement of cognitive performance in healthy subjects.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ijnp/pyx037DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5581485PMC
September 2017

Pharmacokinetics and Pharmacodynamics of Lysergic Acid Diethylamide in Healthy Subjects.

Clin Pharmacokinet 2017 Oct;56(10):1219-1230

Division of Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology, Department of Biomedicine and Department of Clinical Research, University Hospital Basel, Hebelstrasse 2, 4031, Basel, Switzerland.

Background And Objective: Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) is used recreationally and in clinical research. The aim of the present study was to characterize the pharmacokinetics and exposure-response relationship of oral LSD.

Methods: We analyzed pharmacokinetic data from two published placebo-controlled, double-blind, cross-over studies using oral administration of LSD 100 and 200 µg in 24 and 16 subjects, respectively. The pharmacokinetics of the 100-µg dose is shown for the first time and data for the 200-µg dose were reanalyzed and included. Plasma concentrations of LSD, subjective effects, and vital signs were repeatedly assessed. Pharmacokinetic parameters were determined using compartmental modeling. Concentration-effect relationships were described using pharmacokinetic-pharmacodynamic modeling.

Results: Geometric mean (95% confidence interval) maximum plasma concentration values of 1.3 (1.2-1.9) and 3.1 (2.6-4.0) ng/mL were reached 1.4 and 1.5 h after administration of 100 and 200 µg LSD, respectively. The plasma half-life was 2.6 h (2.2-3.4 h). The subjective effects lasted (mean ± standard deviation) 8.2 ± 2.1 and 11.6 ± 1.7 h for the 100- and 200-µg LSD doses, respectively. Subjective peak effects were reached 2.8 and 2.5 h after administration of LSD 100 and 200 µg, respectively. A close relationship was observed between the LSD concentration and subjective response within subjects, with moderate counterclockwise hysteresis. Half-maximal effective concentration values were in the range of 1 ng/mL. No correlations were found between plasma LSD concentrations and the effects of LSD across subjects at or near maximum plasma concentration and within dose groups.

Conclusions: The present pharmacokinetic data are important for the evaluation of clinical study findings (e.g., functional magnetic resonance imaging studies) and the interpretation of LSD intoxication. Oral LSD presented dose-proportional pharmacokinetics and first-order elimination up to 12 h. The effects of LSD were related to changes in plasma concentrations over time, with no evidence of acute tolerance.

Trial Registration: NCT02308969, NCT01878942.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s40262-017-0513-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5591798PMC
October 2017

Pharmacogenetics of ecstasy: CYP1A2, CYP2C19, and CYP2B6 polymorphisms moderate pharmacokinetics of MDMA in healthy subjects.

Eur Neuropsychopharmacol 2017 03 20;27(3):232-238. Epub 2017 Jan 20.

Psychopharmacology Research, Division of Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology, Department of Biomedicine and Department of Clinical Research, University Hospital Basel, Basel, Switzerland. Electronic address:

In vitro studies showed that CYP2C19, CYP2B6, and CYP1A2 contribute to the metabolism of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA, ecstasy) to 3,4-methylenedioxyamphetamine (MDA). However, the role of genetic polymorphisms in CYP2C19, CYP2B6, and CYP1A2 in the metabolism of MDMA in humans is unknown. The effects of genetic variants in these CYP enzymes on the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of MDMA were characterized in 139 healthy subjects (69 male, 70 female) in a pooled analysis of eight double-blind, placebo-controlled studies. MDMA-MDA conversion was positively associated with genotypes known to convey higher CYP2C19 or CYP2B6 activities. Additionally, CYP2C19 poor metabolizers showed greater cardiovascular responses to MDMA compared with other CYP2C19 genotypes. Furthermore, the maximum concentration of MDA was higher in tobacco smokers that harbored the inducible CYP1A2 rs762551 A/A genotype compared with the non-inducible C-allele carriers. The findings indicate that CYP2C19, CYP2B6, and CYP1A2 contribute to the metabolism of MDMA to MDA in humans. Additionally, genetic polymorphisms in CYP2C19 may moderate the cardiovascular toxicity of MDMA.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.euroneuro.2017.01.008DOI Listing
March 2017

Alterations of consciousness and mystical-type experiences after acute LSD in humans.

Psychopharmacology (Berl) 2017 05 7;234(9-10):1499-1510. Epub 2016 Oct 7.

Psychopharmacology Research, Division of Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology, Department of Biomedicine and Department of Clinical Research, University Hospital Basel, University of Basel, Hebelstrasse 2, CH-4031, Basel, Switzerland.

Rationale: Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) is used recreationally and in clinical research. Acute mystical-type experiences that are acutely induced by hallucinogens are thought to contribute to their potential therapeutic effects. However, no data have been reported on LSD-induced mystical experiences and their relationship to alterations of consciousness. Additionally, LSD dose- and concentration-response functions with regard to alterations of consciousness are lacking.

Methods: We conducted two placebo-controlled, double-blind, cross-over studies using oral administration of 100 and 200 μg LSD in 24 and 16 subjects, respectively. Acute effects of LSD were assessed using the 5 Dimensions of Altered States of Consciousness (5D-ASC) scale after both doses and the Mystical Experience Questionnaire (MEQ) after 200 μg.

Results: On the MEQ, 200 μg LSD induced mystical experiences that were comparable to those in patients who underwent LSD-assisted psychotherapy but were fewer than those reported for psilocybin in healthy subjects or patients. On the 5D-ASC scale, LSD produced higher ratings of blissful state, insightfulness, and changed meaning of percepts after 200 μg compared with 100 μg. Plasma levels of LSD were not positively correlated with its effects, with the exception of ego dissolution at 100 μg.

Conclusions: Mystical-type experiences were infrequent after LSD, possibly because of the set and setting used in the present study. LSD may produce greater or different alterations of consciousness at 200 μg (i.e., a dose that is currently used in psychotherapy in Switzerland) compared with 100 μg (i.e., a dose used in imaging studies). Ego dissolution may reflect plasma levels of LSD, whereas more robustly induced effects of LSD may not result in such associations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00213-016-4453-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5420386PMC
May 2017

Alcohol acutely enhances decoding of positive emotions and emotional concern for positive stimuli and facilitates the viewing of sexual images.

Psychopharmacology (Berl) 2017 Jan 19;234(1):41-51. Epub 2016 Sep 19.

Division of Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology, University Hospital Basel, Hebelstrasse 2, 4031, Basel, CH, Switzerland.

Rationale: Social cognition influences social interactions. Alcohol reportedly facilitates social interactions. However, the acute effects of alcohol on social cognition are relatively poorly studied.

Methods: We investigated the effects of alcoholic or non-alcoholic beer on emotion recognition, empathy, and sexual arousal using the dynamic face emotion recognition task (FERT), Multifaceted Empathy Test (MET), and Sexual Arousal Task (SAT) in a double-blind, random-order, cross-over study in 60 healthy social drinkers. We also assessed subjective effects using visual analog scales (VASs), blood alcohol concentrations, and plasma oxytocin levels.

Results: Alcohol increased VAS ratings of stimulated, happy, talkative, open, and want to be with others. The subjective effects of alcohol were greater in participants with higher trait inhibitedness. Alcohol facilitated the recognition of happy faces on the FERT and enhanced emotional empathy for positive stimuli on the MET, particularly in participants with low trait empathy. Pictures of explicit sexual content were rated as less pleasant than neutral pictures after non-alcoholic beer but not after alcoholic beer. Explicit sexual pictures were rated as more pleasant after alcoholic beer compared with non-alcoholic beer, particularly in women. Alcohol did not alter the levels of circulating oxytocin.

Conclusions: Alcohol biased emotion recognition toward better decoding of positive emotions and increased emotional concern for positive stimuli. No support was found for a modulatory role of oxytocin. Alcohol also facilitated the viewing of sexual images, consistent with disinhibition, but it did not actually enhance sexual arousal. These effects of alcohol on social cognition likely enhance sociability.

Trial Registration: www.clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT02318823.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00213-016-4431-6DOI Listing
January 2017

Development and validation of an ultra-fast and sensitive microflow liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (MFLC-MS/MS) method for quantification of LSD and its metabolites in plasma and application to a controlled LSD administration study in humans.

Drug Test Anal 2017 May 10;9(5):788-797. Epub 2016 Aug 10.

Department of Forensic Pharmacology and Toxicology, Zurich Institute of Forensic Medicine, University of Zurich, Switzerland.

Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) is a semi-synthetic hallucinogen that has gained popularity as a recreational drug and has been investigated as an adjunct to psychotherapy. Analysis of LSD represents a major challenge in forensic toxicology due to its instability, low drug concentrations, and short detection windows in biological samples. A new, fast, and sensitive microflow liquid chromatography (MFLC) tandem mass spectrometry method for the validated quantification of LSD, iso-LSD, 2-oxo 3-hydroxy-LSD (oxo-HO-LSD), and N-desmethyl-LSD (nor-LSD) was developed in plasma and applied to a controlled pharmacokinetic (PK) study in humans to test whether LSD metabolites would offer for longer detection windows. Five hundred microlitres of plasma were extracted by solid phase extraction. Analysis was performed on a Sciex Eksigent MFLC system coupled to a Sciex 5500 QTrap. The method was validated according to (inter)-national guidelines. MFLC allowed for separation of the mentioned analytes within 3 minutes and limits of quantification of 0.01 ng/mL. Validation criteria were fulfilled for all analytes. PK data could be calculated for LSD, iso-LSD, and oxo-HO-LSD in all participants. Additionally, hydroxy-LSD (HO-LSD) and HO-LSD glucuronide could be qualitatively detected and PK determined in 11 and 8 subjects, respectively. Nor-LSD was only sporadically detected. Elimination half-lives of iso-LSD (median 12 h) and LSD metabolites (median 9, 7.4, 12, and 11 h for oxo-HO-LSD, HO-LSD, HO-LSD-gluc, and nor-LSD, respectively) exceeded those of LSD (median 4.2 h). However, screening for metabolites to increase detection windows in plasma seems not to be constructive due to their very low concentrations. Copyright © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/dta.2042DOI Listing
May 2017

CYP2D6 function moderates the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of 3,4-methylene-dioxymethamphetamine in a controlled study in healthy individuals.

Pharmacogenet Genomics 2016 08;26(8):397-401

aDivision of Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology, Departments of Biomedicine and Clinical Research, University Hospital Basel bDepartment of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland.

The role of genetic polymorphisms in cytochrome (CYP) 2D6 involved in the metabolism of 3,4-methylene-dioxymethamphetamine (MDMA, ecstasy) is unclear. Effects of genetic variants in CYP2D6 on the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamic effects of MDMA were characterized in 139 healthy individuals (70 men, 69 women) in a pooled analysis of eight double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover studies. In CYP2D6 poor metabolizers, the maximum concentrations (Cmax) of MDMA and its active metabolite 3,4-methylene-dioxyamphetamine were +15 and +50% higher, respectively, compared with extensive metabolizers and the Cmax of the inactive metabolite 4-hydroxy-3-methoxymethamphetamine was 50-70% lower. Blood pressure and subjective drug effects increased more rapidly after MDMA administration in poor metabolizers than in extensive metabolizers. In conclusion, the disposition of MDMA and its effects in humans are altered by polymorphic CYP2D6 activity, but the effects are small because of the autoinhibition of CYP2D6.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/FPC.0000000000000231DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4949007PMC
August 2016

LSD Acutely Impairs Fear Recognition and Enhances Emotional Empathy and Sociality.

Neuropsychopharmacology 2016 10 1;41(11):2638-46. Epub 2016 Jun 1.

Division of Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology, Department of Biomedicine and Department of Clinical Research, University Hospital Basel, Basel, Switzerland.

Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) is used recreationally and has been evaluated as an adjunct to psychotherapy to treat anxiety in patients with life-threatening illness. LSD is well-known to induce perceptual alterations, but unknown is whether LSD alters emotional processing in ways that can support psychotherapy. We investigated the acute effects of LSD on emotional processing using the Face Emotion Recognition Task (FERT) and Multifaceted Empathy Test (MET). The effects of LSD on social behavior were tested using the Social Value Orientation (SVO) test. Two similar placebo-controlled, double-blind, random-order, crossover studies were conducted using 100 μg LSD in 24 subjects and 200 μg LSD in 16 subjects. All of the subjects were healthy and mostly hallucinogen-naive 25- to 65-year-old volunteers (20 men, 20 women). LSD produced feelings of happiness, trust, closeness to others, enhanced explicit and implicit emotional empathy on the MET, and impaired the recognition of sad and fearful faces on the FERT. LSD enhanced the participants' desire to be with other people and increased their prosocial behavior on the SVO test. These effects of LSD on emotion processing and sociality may be useful for LSD-assisted psychotherapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/npp.2016.82DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5026740PMC
October 2016

Impact of Cytochrome P450 2D6 Function on the Chiral Blood Plasma Pharmacokinetics of 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) and Its Phase I and II Metabolites in Humans.

PLoS One 2016 11;11(3):e0150955. Epub 2016 Mar 11.

Psychopharmacology Research, Division of Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology, Department of Biomedicine and Department of Clinical Research, University Hospital Basel, Basel, Switzerland.

3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA; ecstasy) metabolism is known to be stereoselective, with preference for S-stereoisomers. Its major metabolic step involves CYP2D6-catalyzed demethylenation to 3,4-dihydroxymethamphetamine (DHMA), followed by methylation and conjugation. Alterations in CYP2D6 genotype and/or phenotype have been associated with higher toxicity. Therefore, the impact of CYP2D6 function on the plasma pharmacokinetics of MDMA and its phase I and II metabolites was tested by comparing extensive metabolizers (EMs), intermediate metabolizers (IMs), and EMs that were pretreated with bupropion as a metabolic inhibitor in a controlled MDMA administration study. Blood plasma samples were collected from 16 healthy participants (13 EMs and three IMs) up to 24 h after MDMA administration in a double-blind, placebo-controlled, four-period, cross-over design, with subjects receiving 1 week placebo or bupropion pretreatment followed by a single placebo or MDMA (125 mg) dose. Bupropion pretreatment increased the maximum plasma concentration (Cmax) and area under the plasma concentration-time curve from 0 to 24 h (AUC24) of R-MDMA (9% and 25%, respectively) and S-MDMA (16% and 38%, respectively). Bupropion reduced the Cmax and AUC24 of the CYP2D6-dependently formed metabolite stereoisomers of DHMA 3-sulfate, DHMA 4-sulfate, and 4-hydroxy-3-methoxymethamphetamine (HMMA sulfate and HMMA glucuronide) by approximately 40%. The changes that were observed in IMs were generally comparable to bupropion-pretreated EMs. Although changes in stereoselectivity based on CYP2D6 activity were observed, these likely have low clinical relevance. Bupropion and hydroxybupropion stereoisomer pharmacokinetics were unaltered by MDMA co-administration. The present data might aid further interpretations of toxicity based on CYP2D6-dependent MDMA metabolism.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0150955PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4788153PMC
December 2016

Chiral Plasma Pharmacokinetics of 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine and its Phase I and II Metabolites following Controlled Administration to Humans.

Drug Metab Dispos 2015 Dec 22;43(12):1864-71. Epub 2015 Sep 22.

Department of Forensic Pharmacology and Toxicology, Zurich Institute of Forensic Medicine, University of Zurich, Switzerland (A.E.S, C.S., T.K.); Division of Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology, Department of Biomedicine and Department of Clinical Research, University Hospital Basel, Switzerland (Y.S., A.R., M.E.L.).

Generally, pharmacokinetic studies on 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) in blood have been performed after conjugate cleavage, without taking into account that phase II metabolites represent distinct chemical entities with their own effects and stereoselective pharmacokinetics. The aim of the present study was to stereoselectively investigate the pharmacokinetics of intact glucuronide and sulfate metabolites of MDMA in blood plasma after a controlled single MDMA dose. Plasma samples from 16 healthy participants receiving 125 mg of MDMA orally in a controlled study were analyzed using liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectroscopy after chiral derivatization. Pharmacokinetic parameters of R- and S-stereoisomers were determined. Sulfates of 3,4-dihydroxymethamphetamine (DHMA), and sulfate and glucuronide of 4-hydroxy-3-methoxymethamphetamine (HMMA) were identified, whereas free phase I metabolites were not detected. Stereoselective differences in Cmax and AUC24 were observed with the following preferences: R>S for MDMA and DHMA 4-sulfate; S>R for 3,4-methylenedioxyamphetamine (MDA), DHMA 3-sulfate, and HMMA glucuronide; and no preference in Cmax for HMMA sulfate. R/S ratios were >1 for all analytes after 24 hours, independent of the initial chiral preference. These are the first data on chiral pharmacokinetics of MDMA phase II metabolites in human plasma in vivo after controlled administration. The main human MDMA metabolites were shown to be sulfate and glucuronide conjugates.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1124/dmd.115.066340DOI Listing
December 2015

Pharmacokinetics and Concentration-Effect Relationship of Oral LSD in Humans.

Int J Neuropsychopharmacol 2015 Jun 24;19(1). Epub 2015 Jun 24.

Division of Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology, Department of Biomedicine and Department of Clinical Research (Mr Dolder, and Drs Schmid, Haschke, and Liechti), and Laboratory Medicine (Mr Dolder and Dr Rentsch), University Hospital and University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland.

Background: The pharmacokinetics of oral lysergic acid diethylamide are unknown despite its common recreational use and renewed interest in its use in psychiatric research and practice.

Methods: We characterized the pharmacokinetic profile, pharmacokinetic-pharmacodynamic relationship, and urine recovery of lysergic acid diethylamide and its main metabolite after administration of a single oral dose of lysergic acid diethylamide (200 μg) in 8 male and 8 female healthy subjects.

Results: Plasma lysergic acid diethylamide concentrations were quantifiable (>0.1 ng/mL) in all the subjects up to 12 hours after administration. Maximal concentrations of lysergic acid diethylamide (mean±SD: 4.5±1.4 ng/mL) were reached (median, range) 1.5 (0.5-4) hours after administration. Concentrations then decreased following first-order kinetics with a half-life of 3.6±0.9 hours up to 12 hours and slower elimination thereafter with a terminal half-life of 8.9±5.9 hours. One percent of the orally administered lysergic acid diethylamide was eliminated in urine as lysergic acid diethylamide, and 13% was eliminated as 2-oxo-3-hydroxy-lysergic acid diethylamide within 24 hours. No sex differences were observed in the pharmacokinetic profiles of lysergic acid diethylamide. The acute subjective and sympathomimetic responses to lysergic acid diethylamide lasted up to 12 hours and were closely associated with the concentrations in plasma over time and exhibited no acute tolerance.

Conclusions: These first data on the pharmacokinetics and concentration-effect relationship of oral lysergic acid diethylamide are relevant for further clinical studies and serve as a reference for the assessment of intoxication with lysergic acid diethylamide.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ijnp/pyv072DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4772267PMC
June 2015

Interactions between bupropion and 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine in healthy subjects.

J Pharmacol Exp Ther 2015 Apr 5;353(1):102-11. Epub 2015 Feb 5.

Division of Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology, Department of Biomedicine and Department of Clinical Research, University Hospital Basel, Basel, Switzerland (Y.S., A.R., A.S., U.D., C.M.H., M.E.L.); and Biomedicine Service, University Hospital Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland (E.G.)

3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA; "ecstasy") is a popular recreational drug. The aim of the present study was to explore the role of dopamine in the psychotropic effects of MDMA using bupropion to inhibit the dopamine and norepinephrine transporters through which MDMA releases dopamine and norepinephrine by investigating. The pharmacodynamic and pharmacokinetic interactions between bupropion and MDMA in 16 healthy subjects were investigated using a double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover design. Bupropion reduced the MDMA-induced elevations in plasma norepinephrine concentrations and the heart rate response to MDMA. In contrast, bupropion increased plasma MDMA concentrations and prolonged its subjective effects. Conversely, MDMA increased plasma bupropion concentrations. These results indicate a role for the transporter-mediated release of norepinephrine in the cardiostimulant effects of MDMA but do not support a modulatory role for dopamine in the mood effects of MDMA. These results also indicate that the use of MDMA during therapy with bupropion may result in higher plasma concentrations of both MDMA and bupropion and enhanced mood effects but also result in lower cardiac stimulation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1124/jpet.114.222356DOI Listing
April 2015

Acute Effects of Lysergic Acid Diethylamide in Healthy Subjects.

Biol Psychiatry 2015 Oct 29;78(8):544-53. Epub 2014 Nov 29.

Psychopharmacology Research, Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology, Department of Biomedicine and Department of Clinical Research, University Hospital Basel, Basel.. Electronic address:

Background: After no research in humans for >40 years, there is renewed interest in using lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) in clinical psychiatric research and practice. There are no modern studies on the subjective and autonomic effects of LSD, and its endocrine effects are unknown. In animals, LSD disrupts prepulse inhibition (PPI) of the acoustic startle response, and patients with schizophrenia exhibit similar impairments in PPI. However, no data are available on the effects of LSD on PPI in humans.

Methods: In a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, crossover study, LSD (200 μg) and placebo were administered to 16 healthy subjects (8 women, 8 men). Outcome measures included psychometric scales; investigator ratings; PPI of the acoustic startle response; and autonomic, endocrine, and adverse effects.

Results: Administration of LSD to healthy subjects produced pronounced alterations in waking consciousness that lasted 12 hours. The predominant effects induced by LSD included visual hallucinations, audiovisual synesthesia, and positively experienced derealization and depersonalization phenomena. Subjective well-being, happiness, closeness to others, openness, and trust were increased by LSD. Compared with placebo, LSD decreased PPI. LSD significantly increased blood pressure, heart rate, body temperature, pupil size, plasma cortisol, prolactin, oxytocin, and epinephrine. Adverse effects produced by LSD completely subsided within 72 hours. No severe acute adverse effects were observed.

Conclusions: In addition to marked hallucinogenic effects, LSD exerts methylenedioxymethamphetamine-like empathogenic mood effects that may be useful in psychotherapy. LSD altered sensorimotor gating in a human model of psychosis, supporting the use of LSD in translational psychiatric research. In a controlled clinical setting, LSD can be used safely, but it produces significant sympathomimetic stimulation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsych.2014.11.015DOI Listing
October 2015

Effects of methylphenidate and MDMA on appraisal of erotic stimuli and intimate relationships.

Eur Neuropsychopharmacol 2015 Jan 4;25(1):17-25. Epub 2014 Dec 4.

Psychopharmacology Research, Division of Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology, Department of Biomedicine and Department of Clinical Research, University Hospital Basel and University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland. Electronic address:

Methylphenidate mainly enhances dopamine neurotransmission whereas 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA, "ecstasy") mainly enhances serotonin neurotransmission. However, both drugs also induce a weaker increase of cerebral noradrenaline exerting sympathomimetic properties. Dopaminergic psychostimulants are reported to increase sexual drive, while serotonergic drugs typically impair sexual arousal and functions. Additionally, serotonin has also been shown to modulate cognitive perception of romantic relationships. Whether methylphenidate or MDMA alter sexual arousal or cognitive appraisal of intimate relationships is not known. Thus, we evaluated effects of methylphenidate (40 mg) and MDMA (75 mg) on subjective sexual arousal by viewing erotic pictures and on perception of romantic relationships of unknown couples in a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, crossover study in 30 healthy adults. Methylphenidate, but not MDMA, increased ratings of sexual arousal for explicit sexual stimuli. The participants also sought to increase the presentation time of implicit sexual stimuli by button press after methylphenidate treatment compared with placebo. Plasma levels of testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone were not associated with sexual arousal ratings. Neither MDMA nor methylphenidate altered appraisal of romantic relationships of others. The findings indicate that pharmacological stimulation of dopaminergic but not of serotonergic neurotransmission enhances sexual drive. Whether sexual perception is altered in subjects misusing methylphenidate e.g., for cognitive enhancement or as treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is of high interest and warrants further investigation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.euroneuro.2014.11.020DOI Listing
January 2015