Ecstasy overdoses: Los Angeles

June 10, 2010, 10:21 pm

★★★½☆

Ecstasy Overdoses at a New Year’s Eve Rave — Los Angeles, California, 2010. MMWR June 11, 2010;59(22):677-681.

Full text

This important reports describes the CDC’s investigation into  emergency department visits and hospital admissions for illness related to ecstasy (MDMA) following a New Year’s Eve rave party in Los Angeles.  Approximately 45,000 people attended.  The investigation identified 18 patients who were at the rave and shortly thereafter visited area EDs with signs and symptoms consistent with MDMA overdose.  Not surprisingly, most patients were young adults (mean age, 21.3 years).  Thirteen had also used alcohol and/or other drugs at the event.

Clinical findings in these patients included agitation, hypertension, mydriasis, and tachycardia.  There were 3 hospital admissions.  One patient was in critical condition with seizure, rhabdomyolysis, renal failure, and hepatic failure. That patient required dialysis and was in hospital for 28 days.

In addition, one patient who attended the rave but did not meet the case definition died at home shortly after the even.  The medical examiner’s office listed the cause of death as multiple drug intoxication.  Toxicology tests revealed the presence of MDMA, cocaine, and heroin.

Despite a number of limitations that are discussed in the paper, this report is well worth reading.

Alarmingly, as TPR recently reported, following a similar event in San Francisco two weeks ago one person died and five others were admitted to hospitals in critical condition.

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