Methaqualone

out to be loners with a cold family background: Fully 10% said their closest family relationship was with the dog; 30% said they weren't close to any family member at all. Almost all the persons using methaqualone as an "aphrodisiac" had previously been using other drugs for the same purpose. None of the persons seemed capable of intimacy while sober, and all used methaqualone and other substances simply to get intoxicated enough to permit some form of temporary superficial imitation of intimacy. Such drug use has an air of desperation and sadness inconsistent with the normal understanding of what an aphrodisiac does.

One study found that emergency psychiatric hospital patients who abused methaqualone (definitely not a population of ordinary individuals) tended to menace other persons.

Drug interactions. Animal research shows that injection of THC, the main active component of marijuana, reduces the amount of methaqualone that is normally needed to get the drug's effects, which can make an overdose more likely. Animal and human studies using alcohol have had the same effect on a methaqualone dose—such findings are supported by examination of hospital emergency room cases, where analysis showed that methaqualone emergencies typically involved simultaneous ingestion of alcohol. Using alcohol and methaqualone simultaneously is a practice called "luding out." Indulgers in that technique say it makes them feel relaxed, interferes with their ability to move, makes them more tolerant of pain, and produces tingling in their fingers, lips, and tongue.

Tests can detect methaqualone in the body days after a dose, and alcohol lengthens the time that a methaqualone dose lasts. That combination can influence performance on various behavior and performance tests even three days after methaqualone is taken.

A woman's menstrual cycle can affect her body's ability to metabolize meth-aqualone; a dose can last a much shorter time when she is ovulating, but oral contraceptives can eliminate that effect.

Cancer. Not enough scientific information to report.

Pregnancy. The drug has produced birth defects in rats, and offspring had a death rate four times higher than that of a matched group receiving no drug. Researchers doing that work cautioned that the results do not necessarily carry over to humans. In rabbit studies the rate of birth defects from pregnant females receiving methaqualone did not significantly differ from drug-free females, but there was a big difference in death rates of offspring. Rabbits with fetal exposure to methaqualone died three times as often as those without exposure, a 6% death rate for those with exposure and 2% for those without. Analysts of such experiments note that in order to harm a fetus the metha-qualone dose has to be high enough to poison the pregnant female, so the practical meaning of such results may be that normal doses of the drug are safe during pregnancy. Effects on human fetal development are unclear. Human reports tend to involve combinations with other drugs, making it hard to determine methaqualone's role. Given the uncertainties, pregnant women are advised to avoid the drug.

Combination products. Mandrax and Toquilone Compositum contain both methaqualone and the antihistamine diphenhydramine. Some research indi cates that diphenhydramine boosts the actions of methaqualone; some research indicates that the antihistamine lengthens the time that a methaqualone dose lasts. Adverse reactions have occurred when persons take the combination along with tricyclic antidepressants.

Additional information. Methaqualone and diazepam each have the nickname "Ludes," but the drugs are different substances.

Additional scientific information may be found in:

Bailey, D.N. "Methaqualone Ingestion: Evaluation of Present Status." Journal of Analytical Toxicology 5 (1981): 279-82. Brown, S.S., and S. Goenechea. "Methaqualone: Metabolic Kinetic and Clinical Pharmacologic Observations." Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics 14 (1973): 314-24.

"Evaluation of a Sedative-Hypnotic Agent; Methaqualone (Quaalude)." Journal of the

American Medical Association 199 (1967): 749. Falco, M. "Methaqualone Misuse: Foreign Experience and United States Drug Control

Policy." International Journal of the Addictions 11 (1976): 597-610. Gerald, M.C., and P.M. Schwirian. "Nonmedical Use of Methaqualone." Archives of

General Psychiatry 28 (1973): 627-31. Ostrenga, J.A. "Methaqualone—A Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde?" Clinical Toxicology 6 (1973): 607-9.

Perry, C.D., et al. "The South African Community Epidemiology Network on Drug Use (SACENDU): Description, Findings (1997-99) and Policy Implications." Addiction 97 (2002): 969-76. Roden, S., P. Harvey, and M. Mitchard. "Influence of Alcohol on the Persistent Effects on Human Performance of the Hypnotics Mandrax and Nitrazepam." International Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, Therapy and Toxicology 15 (1977): 350-55. Wetli, C.V. "Changing Patterns of Methaqualone Abuse. A Survey of 246 Fatalities." Journal of the American Medical Association 249 (1983): 621-26.

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