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PMA Category:

Also called: paramethoxyamphetamine, paramethoxymethyamphetamine.

PMA is similar to MDMA (ecstasy). It can make users feel alert, alive and full of energy. Its similarity means that PMA is actually sometimes sold as ecstasy. It is also known as paramethoxymethyamphetamine, or para-methoxymethyamphetamine.

However, PMA is much stronger, and like MDMA, can cause a fatal rise in body temperature. The effects of PMA also take longer than MDMA to begin to be felt – so some users have overdosed by mistakenly taking pill after pill thinking nothing is happening, which can also be fatal.

How it's used

PMA is an amphetamine which looks like and may be sold as ecstasy. It can come in tablet form.


Other dangers

The effects of PMA can take a while to kick-in so there’s a risk of the user double-dosing to compensate, risking a fatal overdose. Other risks include:

PMA and alcohol

Mixing PMA with alcohol can have serious consequences – the effects of PMA are increased, making it more likely to experience its negative effects.


As with ecstasy, it’s possible to build up a tolerance (which means people need to take more PMA to get the same level of buzz). Psychological dependence may also develop (with an increased desire to keep taking the drug despite the risks). There have been no clear physical withdrawals reported with PMA but, as with ecstasy, users may feel lethargic or low for some days after having used.

How long does it stay in your system?

Shows up in urine tests for 3-8 days. (The length of time depends on the test used, the amount you take, if you have other medical conditions and your own metabolism. Please use this figure as a guide only).

What help is available?

« Back to Types of Drugs page
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The HSE and Union of Students in Ireland (USI) ask students to think about drug safety measures when using club drugs
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