This paper describes the objectives and methods of The Netherlands XTC Toxicity (NeXT) study focussing on the causality, course, and clinical relevance of ecstasy neurotoxicity. Previous studies suggest that ecstasy (3,4 methylene-dioxymethamphetamine, MDMA, XTC is toxic toward brain serotonin axons, but most of these studies have serious methodological limitations. The current study is a combination of different approaches with three substudies: (1) a cross-sectional substudy among heavy ecstasy users and controls with variation in drug use, which will provide information about potential neurotoxic consequences of ecstasy in relation to other drugs; (2) a prospective cohort substudy in ecstasy-naive subjects with high risk for future ecstasy use, which will provide information on the causality and short-term course of ecstasy use and potential neurotoxicity, and (3) a retrospective cohort substudy in lifetime ecstasy users and matched controls of an existing epidemiological sample that will provide information on long-term course and outcome of ecstasy use in the general population. Neurotoxicity is studied using (a) different imaging techniques (β-CIT SPECT, 1H-MR spectroscopy, diffusion tensor imaging, perfusion weighted imaging and functional magnetic resonance imaging), and (b) neuropsychological and psychiatric assessments of memory, depression, and personality. The combined results will lead to conclusions that can be used in prevention messages, clinical decision making, and the development of an (inter)national ecstasy policy. Copyright

Brain imaging, Ecstasy, MDMA, Neurotoxicity, Serotonin,
International Journal of Methods in Psychiatric Research (Print)
Department of Neurosurgery

de Win, M.M.L, Jager, G.J, Vervaeke, H.K.E, Schilt, T, Reneman, L, Booij, J, … van den Brink, W. (2005). The Netherlands XTC Toxicity (NeXT) study: Objectives and methods of a study investigating causality, course, and clinical relevance. International Journal of Methods in Psychiatric Research (Print) (Vol. 14, pp. 167–185). doi:10.1002/mpr.6