A new drug entering preclinical tests wants to make sure that people who choose to take MDMA don’t succumb to one of the substances most common side effects: hyperthermia.
Ryanodex claims to act like “an ice pack for the brain,” just one of the organs affected by MDMA-induced hyperthermia, but obviously the most important. The drug was initially developed as a solution to malignant hyperthermia (MH), “a pharmacogenetic disease that causes a fast rise in body temperature and severe muscle contractions when an affected person receives general anesthesia using volatile anesthetics or succinylcholine.”
However, the clinical trials approved by the National Institutes of Health and the National Institute of Drug Abuse are meant to examine the drug’s effect on MDMA- and meth-related hyperthermia, specifically.
Drug-induced hyperthermia, especially those related to MDMA and meth, can be especially dangerous to the body. Inverse found an excerpt in the L.A. Times from one emergency room director who laid out the details in no uncertain terms: The heat triggered by the drugs can reach “the kind of temperatures that there’s no other way to describe it other than it will melt your organs and do damage to your organs to the point you will die.”
If trials of Ryanodex are successful, it could become the new emergency treatment for MDMA poisoning. This summer, trials will begin on animal subjects; if successful, human trials could start as soon as next year.
According to Inverse, in 2011, the last time officials took count, “brain hyperthermia landed 125,000 people in the emergency room after taking either drug.” More festival goers have since passed away from complications from MDMA, ecstasy or “molly.”
If there’s even a chance that this drug could help save lives, then this is fantastic news.