Why didn't my ecstasy work? Could taking medications have an effect?

I recently took ecstasy but felt no effects whatsoever. Is this normal or is this a dangerous sign of some kind? Could it have affected me without me being aware of it? I also take 150mg of Zoloft everyday for depression, could this have something to do with me not having any effect.

There are really two issues that need to be covered here - firstly, why would someone who has taken ecstasy not get the effect they were expecting, and secondly, a discussion on the risks associated with using drugs like ecstasy if you are on prescription medications, particularly those used to treat mental health conditions.

There are a number of things to remember when taking an illegal drug that could result in someone not experiencing the desired effect:
  • There may not have been any active substance in your pill or capsule. Analysis of pills, capsules and powders sold as ecstasy shows that some contain no active substance at all and may in fact contain household products like Epsom salts and bicarbonate of soda! Sometimes they just contain caffeine. As much as we warn about poisonous substances being in ecstasy (and that may certainly be the case), sometimes there's nothing in them!

  • If others with you took a pill from the same batch and they got an effect remember that different people will be affected differently by exactly the same drug. Just because someone had a very strong effect after taking a pill, it doesn't necessarily mean that others will too. This is why one person may die or get extremely sick after taking a pill, while all the others around them who took exactly the same thing had no problems at all – this is called 'individual difference' and is incredibly important to remember in regards to drugs!

  • There are many other factors that could impact on the effect the user experiences – including what and how much you ate beforehand, your mood when you took the drug and where you were and who you were with ... Could this account for getting no effect whatsoever? Most probably not but sometimes people's expectations of what a drug experience is going to be like may exceed what actually happens

Most importantly, you have been diagnosed with depression and are being treated … taking a drug like ecstasy when you're on medication for a mental health issue is simply not a good idea and can possibly make your condition even worse. There is a great article on the impact of mixing ecstasy with Zoloft at the following link: http://goaskalice.columbia.edu/answered-questions/zoloft-and-mdma. Take a look at it and think very carefully about ever combining the two drugs again. Although many people regard ecstasy as a 'low-risk' drug, things can still go wrong - your mental health is so important and when you have a pre-existing condition, using a drug like ecstasy that plays around with your brain chemistry could be even more dangerous.

First published: August 2016
Updated: March 2018