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MXE Drug Abuse Symptoms, Side Effects, and Addiction Treatment

What Is MXE?

Methoxetamine—also known as MXE—is a drug similar to ketamine and known for its hallucinogenic and dissociative properties.1 MXE (sometimes called “Mexxy,” “M-ket,” “Special M,” or “legal ketamine”) is commonly sold on the internet as a “research chemical” and labeled as “not for human consumption” in order to avoid federal regulations.2

MXE is often falsely marketed as a safer alternative to the synthetic drug ketamine. However, it has been shown to cause numerous physical and mental health problems at high doses—including psychotic reactions and cerebellar toxicity—and it has high addictive potential.1,2

MXE Abuse

MXE abuse is a growing problem worldwide. A global survey revealed that MXE usage increased considerably in the United States between 2011 and 2012.3 It may be appealing not only because of its ability to cause pleasurable and euphoric sensations in the user,2 but also because of its affordability, easy accessibility, and perceived safety compared to other drugs like ketamine. MXE has especially grown in popularity among club goers.2 This may be due, in part, to the fact that MXE offers a slower onset time and longer duration of peak effects compared to ketamine.3

MXE can be found in powder, tablet, capsule, or liquid form, and it may be inhaled, injected, or taken orally.2 Users may also combine it with other drugs—often benzodiazepines, opioids, amphetamines, cannabis, and synthetic drugs.2

While it is often marketed as a safe alternative to ketamine, MXE can cause numerous mental and physical health problems, from anxiety and fear to vomiting and respiratory depression. Even one-time use can cause serious symptoms that may lead to death.

MXE abuse can be extremely dangerous and even fatal. If you’re using MXE, you can find help today when you call American Addiction Centers (AAC) free at .

Signs and Symptoms of MXE Abuse

Someone who is intoxicated by MXE may experience the following:2

  • Intense feelings of happiness (euphoria).
  • Reduced feelings of depression.
  • Increased empathy.
  • Increased introspection.
  • A sense of peacefulness and calm.
  • Feeling out of one’s body.
  • Enhanced sensory experiences.
  • Dissociation (referred to as the “M-hole”).
  • Spiritual and transcendent experiences.

They may also experience distressing symptoms such as:2

  • Anxiety and panic.
  • Paranoia.
  • Fear.
  • Impaired coordination.
  • Catatonia.
  • Trouble speaking.
  • Increased heart rate.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Nausea/vomiting.
  • Respiratory depression.

Side Effects of MXE Abuse

MXE is a risky drug that poses dangers to users. MXE abuse may lead to physical health problems such as those listed above. In addition, MXE has been found to cause:2

  • Kidney damage, including tubular necrosis.
  • Ulcerative cystitis, leading to severe bladder damage.

MXE abuse may also lead to negative life consequences. Possible long-term effects of MXE use include:

  • Isolation from family and friends.
  • Problems in relationships.
  • Legal issues.
  • Inability to perform at work or school.
  • Unemployment.
  • Financial problems.
  • Higher risk of accidents.

An overdose can occur when a person consumes too much of a drug, or more than his or her body can handle. In some cases, high doses of MXE can be fatal.2 The risk of death increases when MXE is combined with other drugs. Many reported cases of fatal MXE intoxication involved other substances, making it extremely difficult to isolate which drug caused which symptom. For example, in one case, a man intoxicated by MXE and amphetamine suffered from respiratory failure, hyperthermia, rhabdomyalsis, and seizures, dying 4 weeks after his initial presentation at the emergency department.2 Any use of MXE—especially in combination with other drugs—may cause dangerous and sometimes fatal symptoms.

Teen MXE Abuse 

The lack of federal restrictions on the sale of MXE in the United States means that it is easily accessible by teens and may even be purchased over the internet.3

Abuse of drugs like MXE in adolescents and teens can have a negative impact on brain functioning and the ability to learn, memorize, exercise judgment, and control behavior.7 Early drug use can also increase a teen’s risk of developing an addiction.

Teens of all ages may be at risk for abusing drugs like MXE.8 Taking steps to prevent teen drug abuse may minimize your child’s risk of addiction and long-term physical and mental health problems. Parents, teachers, and community members may help reduce teen MXE abuse by taking the following steps:

  • Providing reliable information on the risks of drug abuse and addiction.
  • Encouraging teens to participate in hobbies and become more involved in the community. Teens who participate in enjoyable activities like sports, music, and volunteering may be less interested in using drugs to cope with the stresses of adolescence.
  • Teaching assertiveness skills so that teens are prepared to say no to drugs. Assertiveness involves instilling the skills and confidence that a teen needs to make healthy decisions when faced with pressure.
  • Seeking support when necessary. Parents who learn that a teen is abusing drugs may feel unsure of what to do. Consider reaching out to a professional for help or seeking the guidance of a support group.

Taking preventative steps can help to reduce the number of teens who abuse MXE and their long-term risks for addiction. In some cases, addiction treatment may be necessary for teens and adults who are already abusing MXE and finding it difficult to quit.

If you love someone who’s abusing MXE, help is available. Please call American Addiction Centers (AAC) to find a program today at .

Resources, Articles, and More Information

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) provides in-depth information on hallucinogen and dissociative drug abuse, why people use drugs, and the effects on the brain and body in the Research Report Series: Hallucinogens and Dissociative Drugs.

NIDA also provides information in Mind Over Matter: Hallucinogens, a resource for teens and children on the effects of hallucinogens.

Narcotics Anonymous and SMART Recovery are free support groups for individuals struggling with drug abuse. Both groups offer meetings in-person and online.

You may also check our related pages:

Hallucinogen Addiction Treatment Levels of Care

Recommended Drug and Alcohol Rehab-Related Articles

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