Prevalence of self-reported movement dysfunction among young adults with a history of ecstasy and methamphetamine use

Gabrielle Todd, Lucinda Burns, Verity Pearson-Dennett, Adrian Esterman, Patrick L. Faulkner, Robert A. Wilcox, Dominic Thewlis, Adam P. Vogel, Jason M. White

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Illicit stimulant use is associated with long-lasting changes in movement and movement-related brain regions. The aim of our study was to investigate the prevalence of movement dysfunction in this population. We hypothesized that prevalence of self-reported movement dysfunction is higher among stimulant users than non-stimulant users. 

Methods: Three groups of adults completed a survey containing questions about demographics, health, drug use, and movement. The groups consisted of ecstasy users with no history of methamphetamine use (ecstasy group, n = 190, 20 ± 3 yrs.), methamphetamine users (methamphetamine group, n = 331, 23 ± 5 yrs.), and non-stimulant users (control group, n = 228, 25 ± 8 yrs.). Movement data was analyzed with logistic regression. 

Results: In the unadjusted logistic regression model, group had a significant effect on fine hand control, tremor, and voice/speech questions, but not on other movement domain questions. The prevalence of tremor and abnormal fine hand control was significantly higher in the ecstasy and methamphetamine groups than in the control group (p < 0.018), and changes in voice/speech was more prevalent in the ecstasy group than in the control group (p = 0.015). Age and use of cannabis and hallucinogens were confounding variables. However, inspection of chi-square tables suggests that the effect of these parameters on the movement data is likely to be minor. 

Conclusions: The prevalence of self-reported tremor and changes in fine hand control and voice/speech is significantly higher in stimulant users than in non-stimulant users. Inclusion of these common and noticeable changes in body function may aid public health campaigns that target prevention or harm minimization.

Original languageEnglish
Article number107595
Number of pages9
JournalDrug and Alcohol Dependence
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2019


  • Ecstasy
  • MDMA
  • Methamphetamine
  • Movement


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