PMA (para-methoxyamphetamine, p-methoxyamphetamine or 4-methoxyamphetamine) is a synthetic phenethylamine drug, psychostimulant and hallucinogen. It is sometimes known by the street names of “death” or “Dr Death”. It has, however, been more commonly encountered when it has been sold as “ecstasy“, even though PMA and MDMA, the principal ingredient of ecstasy, are distinctly different chemicals. PMA is often synthesized from anethole, the flavor compound of anise and fennel, mainly because the starting material for MDMA, safrole, has become less available due to law enforcement action, causing illicit drug manufacturers to use anethole as an alternative. Once thought to be a human invention, recent research suggests PMA occurs as a trace alkaloid in plants including certain Acacia species.
Doses of less than 50 milligrams (usually one pill) causes symptoms like Ecstasy; increased breathing, body temperature, pulse rate and blood pressure, erratic eye movements, muscle spasms, nausea and heightened visual stimulation. Dosages over60-80 mg (lower than those used regularly for Ecstasy) are considered potentially lethal. They can cause cardiac arrhythmia and arrest, breathing problems, pulmonary congestion, kidney failure, hypothermia, vomiting, convulsions, coma and death.