Study Links Sleep Apnea to Regular Use of Recreational Ecstasy

A recent research led by Dr. Una McCann of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore, has revealed that regular users of the popular recreational drug Ecstasy are exposing themselves to a risk of developing sleep apnea. The drug has also been linked to various cognitive problems by the study.

Characterized by pauses in breathing when sleeping, sleep apnea is one of the most common disorders and affects and estimated 15 million Americans.

For the sake of study, 71 healthy people who were regular users of Ecstasy, i. e., those who had used the drug at least 25 times, but had been off it for nearly 2 weeks prior to the study, and 62 healthy people who had never used the drug, were enrolled, and monitored all night in a sleep laboratory.

After analysis of the data collected, researchers concluded that ecstasy users were at least 8 times more at risk of developing the sleeping disorder than others.

"People who use ecstasy need to know that this drug damages the brain and can cause immediate and dangerous problems such as sleep apnea. Sleep apnea in itself is dangerous, but it can also contribute to thinking problems in people who use ecstasy because chronic sleep disruption is known to have a negative effect on how a person functions during the daytime", said Dr. McCann.

The study has been published in the online issue of journal Neurology, on December 02.