What Is Methaqualone?

What Is Methaqualone?

Methaqualone is a sedative and hypnotic drug, similar to barbiturates in its effects and dangers on the body. Methaqualone use peaked in the 1970s and was used to treat insomnia and used as a muscle relaxant, as well as recreational use for its hypnotic and sedative effects, typically at dance clubs and parties during that time.

Methaqualone is highly addictive, increasing its danger and the severity of its side effects. As a prescribed drug for insomnia, it was prescribed under the names Quaaludes, Sopors, Ludes or Mandrax and the recreational terms for this drug include:

  • Smarties
  • Love Drug
  • Disco Biscuits
  • Buttons
  • 714s
  • Ludes
  • Mandies
  • Mandrakes
  • Quads

During the years when it was a legal, prescribed medication, methaqualone was administered orally with solid white tablets or water-soluble capsules in 150mg or 300mg. Because of the severity of the side effects and how easily individuals would become addicted to Methaqualone, it was taken off the market in the 1980s. While illegal in the United States and many other countries, it is still widely used in South Africa and known under the names "happy tablet" and "smarties."


Methaqualone Abuse Side Effects

A variety of side effects are experienced by users of methaqualone which range from mild to severe. As with many other prescription medications, the severity of the side effects are indicative of the dosage the user was taking, how often and the length of time. Typically the more someone ingested of methaqualone, the worse their adverse side effects ended up being.

Methaqualone lowers the levels of chemicals in the brain and central nervous system, known as neurotransmitters, and therefore causes the blood pressure to drop and pulse rate to slow which allows the person to become more relaxed and in a sedative state.

Additional effects of methaqualone include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Euphoria
  • Reduced Respiration
  • Numbing of the Fingers and Toes
  • Increased Sexual Arousal
  • Slurred Speech
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Sensitivity to Light

The effects of methaqualone would last between four and eight hours and over time, the body of the user would become tolerant of the drug, requiring larger doses in shorter periods of time. This led to possible Methaqualone overdose, the symptoms of which include convulsions, delirium, renal failure, vomiting, coma, hypertonia and death through cardiac arrest or respiratory arrest.

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