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.
- Giving people an energy buzz that makes them feel alert and alive.
- Feeling in tune with surroundings.
- Sounds and colours are more intense.
- Feelings of great love for friends and strangers.
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:
- As little as a quarter of a tablet (60mg) is enough to significantly increase blood pressure, body temperature and pulse rates.
- Anyone with a heart condition, blood pressure problems, epilepsy or asthma can have a very dangerous reaction to the drug.
- Anyone using too much can get paranoid and depressed.
- PMA can cause muscle spasms and lots of people feel very sick after taking it.
- PMA affects the body's temperature control and is stronger than ecstasy, and so the risk of overheating may be greater. People can get so out of their faces they don't realise they're in danger of overheating and dehydration. Users should take regular breaks to cool down and should keep hydrated. If you feel your temperature soaring seek help immediately.
- Be a little careful not to overdo it when drinking fluid to avoid dehydration and overheating – as drinking too much water can also be dangerous or even fatal. Just remember to sip no more than a pint of non-alcoholic fluid every hour. This is important because drugs like PMA and MDMA (ecstasy) can cause the body to release a hormone which suppresses the production of urine. So, if a user drinks a few pints of liquid too quickly, water builds up in the body and interferes with the body’s salt balance. This excess of water in the body can directly harm brain function and this can be as deadly as not drinking enough water.
- The long term risks associated with PMA have yet to be studied but many are likely to be similar to ecstasy.
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?
- Self-help support such as Narcotics Anonymous
- Counselling or psychotherapy
- Complementary therapies, such as acupuncture
- Your doctor
- Residential treatment programmes (clinics)
- One to one or group family support
- Contact the Drugs Helpline 1800 459 459 to find out about options in your area