Abstract

Paramethoxyamphetamine (PMA) and paramethoxymetamphetamine (PMMA) are methoxylated phenylethylamine derivatives with effects similar to methylenedioxymetamphetamine (MDMA) and sold as such. However, PMA and PMMA are more potent than MDMA, but have a slower onset of action, which encourages users to take more. Three fatal cases involving PMA and PMMA in Denmark in year 2000 are investigated including history, pathological, and toxicological findings. The methods used for extraction, identification, and quantitation of PMA and PMMA are described. In two of the cases, lethal postmortem blood concentrations of PMA and PMMA were determined at 3.4 and 3.3 mg/kg (case 1) and 0.78 and 0.68 mg/kg (case 3), respectively. In addition, other drugs such as MDMA, tetrahydrocannabinol, cocaine, and alcohol were involved in these cases. In the third case, death occurred four days after the ingestion of tablets containing PMA and PMMA, and therefore only low postmortem concentrations of PMA and amphetamine were detected. However, in a serum sample taken at admission to the hospital, PMA and PMMA were found, but not quantitated. It is believed that the cause of death in case 2, multiple-organ failure, was caused by overdoses of PMA and PMMA.