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PMA/PMMA Information & Advice

PMA, or PMMA, is Para-Methoxy-Meth-Amphetamine, a member of the amphetamine (speed) family, as is ecstasy (Methylene-Dioxy-Meth-Amphetamine or MDMA). So the effects – and risks - are similar.

PMA has been implicated in a number of deaths in Canada (in1973), Australia (six in1997) and the USA. Most PMA deaths have been in users who have taken tablets sold as "ecstasy". The first case of death from PMA in the UK was reported in 2002. An ‘active dose’ is between 50mg and 80mg – one tablet. Taking more than one tablet increases the risk of death.




PMA is supplied in powder and tablet form. Various coloured tablets and powders have laid claim to being PMA, so it is very difficult to be certain what you are taking. The image on the left, which is reportedly of PMA, is supplied courtesy of Wikipedia.

The Law

PMA and PMMA are both Class A drugs in the UK. So possession could get you seven years, and for dealing life Imprisonment.


Users report it takes a long time to work, up to an hour, but suddenly comes up with strong rushes. The main effects include feeling alert, excitement, stimulation, visual distortions and hallucinations.

Negative effects

Common side-effects include dry mouth, loss of appetite, dizziness, poor concentration, racing heart, high body temperature, panic, agitation, and severe sweating. In extreme cases, PMA can cause dehydration, confusion, fits and overheating, which may prove fatal.

Long-term effects

We don’t know! As PMA is a relatively new thing, we don’t know much about how it will affect users over time. Whether PMA itself is addictive is unclear as users don’t really know what they are taking.

How to reduce the risks

Firstly, don’t take it. If you don’t take it you won’t run the risks.

HOWEVER, if you are determined to take it, start with a small amount and wait for an hour or so. Remember, it can take up to an hour to take effect.

Don’t take more. The more you take, the more risks you run.

Don’t drink alcohol or take any other drugs at the same time.

Do not use on your own and tell your mates what you are taking. Keep an eye on each other.



Take it easy

As with all drugs, you can’t be sure exactly what  the pill or powder contains. Don’t chase the high. The substance you have just taken, thinking it is ecstasy, could actually be PMA, which can take longer to start working and is more toxic then Ecstasy. So don’t start necking loads of tablets thinking you have taken some dodgy ‘E’s. Take it easy and give it time.


Body Temperature

PMA can, in some users, raise the body temperature to dangerous levels, so chill out and take regular breaks so as not to overheat.

Stay hydrated. Sip water throughout the night, but don’t gag down pints of the stuff. Even better drink isotonic sports drinks which will maintain salt levels in the body, or add a couple of teaspoons of salt to a litre of juice or fizzy drink.



Feeling unwell

If anyone begins to feel unwell, take them to a cool, relaxed space and stay with them. If they get worse, or they feel dizzy, or very hot but dry skin, or racing heart, panic or begin to have a fit, get medical help immediately.

If they are having a fit, clear the space around them so they don’t bang into things.

Don’t try to hold them down.

Don’t put anything, including your fingers, into their mouth.

Do stay with them until the help arrives.

Do tell the emergency staff what they have taken or, better still, give them a sample of what you “found next to them”. You won’t get into trouble and it could save their life!



   Click here to download PMA/PMMA Information and advice factsheet



Useful Links

Erowid. Click here

Wikipedia. Click here



Information written by Alan Matthews. Substance misuse trainer and consultant.

T. 07850 154031