Department of Health

MDMA adulterated with PMMA

PMMA has been detected in MDMA (ecstasy) in Melbourne, presenting as broken up (crushed) yellow crystals

PMMA produces some similar effects to MDMA, but is more toxic, less euphoric, and takes longer to have an effect

Para-Methoxymethamphetamine (PMMA) is an 'empathogen' with stimulant and mild hallucinogenic properties that has been associated with a substantial number of deaths worldwide. Depending on the amount taken, it seems to have a significant risk of very serious harm to health. This includes hyperthermia (dangerously high body temperature), acute respiratory distress (severe shortness of breath needing immediate medical attention), cardiac arrest, convulsions, sudden collapse, multiple organ failure, and death.

Reports from people who have used PMMA intentionally suggest it’s hard to take a dose that provides any desirable effects without experiencing serious unwanted effects. While unpredictable, the effects of PMMA may include moderate stimulation, mildly heightened senses, seeing colours and shapes, overheating, dehydration, sweating, increased heartbeat and blood pressure, difficulty breathing, irregular eye movements, muscle spasms, and nausea and vomiting.

Be very cautious about any substance with a yellow colour/tinge that's sold as MDMA - it may contain PMMA

At low doses PMMA can be mistaken for MDMA, but PMMA takes longer than MDMA to have an effect. This has led some people to prematurely take additional doses, leading to overdose. If you have an unexpected or delayed reaction to a drug, do not take more.

Consuming PMMA and MDMA together, or with other substances like cocaine or alcohol, will further increase the risk of unwanted and potentially fatal effects. PMMA and the related drug PMA have been associated with a substantial number of hospitalisations and deaths worldwide, often involving both PMMA/PMA and MDMA.

Reducing the risk of harm

If you experience adverse drug effects, or are present when someone has an unexpected reaction, seek help immediately by calling Triple Zero (000).

All alcohol and other drug use comes with risks, so:

  • Be aware that other false or contaminated drug products may circulate in Victoria, even if no specific warning has been issued about them.
  • Start low and go slow with how much you consume. If you have any unexpected or delayed reaction to a drug, do not take more.
  • Make sure you're in a safe environment with people you trust.
  • Remember, even 'pure' drugs can produce serious side effects and death, and can interact dangerously with medications/pharmaceutical drugs - get the facts at Drug factsExternal Link .

Contact Harm Reduction Victoria's DanceWize team for anonymous support and education from peers. Talk to DanceWize volunteers online at Link or dancewize_vic (Instagram)External Link , by email at, or at music festivals across Victoria.

If you or someone you know needs help with alcohol or drug use, call DirectLine on 1800 888 236 or visit DirectLineExternal Link for information and support to access treatment.


Reviewed 14 March 2024


Was this page helpful?