Quaaludes Drug Abuse, Effects and Symptoms Of Overdose

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What are Quaaludes?

Quaaludes (methaqualone) are sedatives and hypnotic agents used for insomnia but were taken off the market, in the U.S., in 1983 due to their high risk of abuse. Quaaludes’ active ingredient is an anxiolytic (lowers anxiety) and a sedative-hypnotic drug that leads to a state of drowsiness. It also has many other common names, such as “Ludes,” “Sopors,” and “Mandrax.” These drugs were initially introduced as a safe barbiturate substitute to help induce sleep but were later shown to have addiction and withdrawal symptoms similar to other prescription barbiturates.

Methaqualone is a DEA Schedule I controlled substance. DEA Scheduled Substances I don’t have any recognized medicinal uses in the United States right now, there’s no established level of safety for using me while under a doctor’s care, and I have a significant potential for misuse. It is a depressant that boosts the activity of the GABA receptors in the brain and nervous system. It became famous as a club drug and recreational drug in the late 1960s and 1970s. It has a role as a sedative and a GABA agonist. This is according to the National Library of Medicine. (NIH)[1]

According to BBC News [2], the drug is back in the headlines after the revelation that comedian Bill Cosby admitted getting them to give to women he wanted to have sex with. Musicians sang about them. Frank Zappa speaks of “Quaalude moonlight,” while David Bowie’s Time references “Quaaludes and red wine.” It needs just 30 minutes to start having an effect, which can continue for up to six hours. Quaalude is no longer legitimately manufactured, but it’s still likely to find people claiming to sell this drug on the streets.

Effects Of Quaaludes Abuse

Quaaludes are both sedative and hypnotic, impacting both the mind and body. Besides its recreational effects, withdrawal symptoms can be difficult, requiring specialized drug rehab. Drug rehab centers look for anxiety, muscle tremors, irritability, hyperthermia, nausea, tachycardia, hallucinations, and skin blisters common with barbiturate abuse. Difficulties with coordination and muscle control are common methaqualone long-term effects.

Quaaludes produce effects comparable to benzodiazepines and barbiturates in that it slows down the brain’s functions. Once the beneficial effects of this drug were established, it was believed that it would be safer than barbiturates and have less potential for abuse. What ended up occurring was a different story. Soon the addictive effects of Quaaludes eventually began to outweigh the medical benefits that they provided.

Knowing the signs and symptoms of a Quaalude addiction can be helpful to you or a loved one. The following signs and symptoms may result from abusing this drug. If you or a loved one is experiencing any possible side effects from Quaaludes, please seek help. It is essential to seek medical attention as soon as possible.

  1. What are the most common Quaalude effects?

    If you are wondering, “what is the effect of quaaludes?”, the answer is the most common Quaaludes side effects are dizziness, nausea, abdominal cramps, tingling in arms and legs, diarrhea, dry mouth, sweating, vomiting, seizures, itching, fatigue, rashes, slowed breathing, reduced heart rate, overdose (can be fatal), depression, increased anxiety, delirium, respiratory arrest, kidney or liver damage, paresthesia, photophobia, and mood disorders.

  2. Are Quaaludes still made?

    If you are wondering, “do they still make quaaludes?” or “do Quaaludes still exist?”, the answer is in the early 1980s, it was removed from several developed markets. It was taken off the market in the US in 1983 and was designated a Schedule I medication in 1984. The total annual manufacturing quota for the United States in 2022 was 60 grams, and it has a DEA ACSCN of 2565.

  3. What happened to Quaaludes?

    Before Quaalude was withdrawn from the market in the United States in 1985, the drug’s rights were held by the JB Roerig & Company branch of Pfizer. This was mostly because of the drug’s psychological dependence, widespread abuse, and illicit recreational use.

  4. What is Quaaludes?

    If you are wondering, “what’s a quaalude” or “what are Quaalude pills?”, the answer is a central nervous system depressant medication called a Quaalude was initially created in the 1950s.

  5. What do Quaaludes do?

    A hypnotic drug is called a Quaalude. Methaqualone is a central nervous system depressant that causes euphoria and sleepiness, which is comparable to how using diazepam causes these effects. Moreover, a Quaalude high can lower breathing and heart rate while raising sexual excitement.

  6. What are quaaludes similar drug?

    If you are wondering, “is seroquel a quaalude?”, “is ambien a quaalude?”, or “what are quaaludes similar drugs?”, the answer is quaaludes are a type of depressant, which also includes drugs like Xanax, Klonopin, Valium, and others. Depressants are dangerous prescription drugs that have a long list of side effects, including addiction and even death.

  7. Can you still get Quaaludes?

    Although methaqualone is no longer produced legally, it is still possible to come across people on the street who are claiming to sell Quaaludes.

  8. How many Quaalude deaths have there been?

    76% of the 246 deaths linked to methaqualone over an 11-year period (1971–1981) have happened since 1977, and 72% of those deaths have entailed lethal trauma. In car accidents, one-third of the victims passed away.

  9. Are Quaaludes still made in South Africa?

    One of the most often used illegal drugs for recreational purposes in South Africa is methaqualone. It is produced covertly, frequently in India, and comes in tablet form, but it is smoked along with marijuana. The term “white pipe” refers to this manner of consumption. In India and several parts of Africa, it is well-liked.

  10. What does a Quaaludes high feel like?

    Because Quaaludes directly affect your central nervous system, much like a muscle relaxant, taking them can result in a “high” experience. This induces profound relaxation and develops a strong addictive potential. Being “relaxed” is by no means the sole adverse effect, though.

Quaaludes Drug Facts

What is a Quaaludes? Quaaludes belong to Schedule I drugs and have a high potential for abuse, have no currently accepted medical treatment use in the U.S., and lack accepted safety for use under medical supervision.

Generic Name: Methaqualone
Drug Class: Depressant
Common Brand Names:
 Quaalude, Sopor
Other Formal Names: Cateudil, Dormutil, Hyminal, Isonox, Melsed, Melsedin, Mequelone, Mequin, Methadorm, Mozambin, Optimil, Parest, Renoval, Somnafac, Toquilone Compositum, Triador, Tuazole.
Common or Street Names: Bandits, Beiruts, Blou Bulle, Disco Biscuits, Ewings, Flamingos, Flowers, Genuines, Lemmon 714, Lemons, Lennons, Lovers, Ludes, Mandies, Qua, Quaaludes, Quack, Quad, Randy Mandies, 714, Soaper, Sopes, Sporos, Vitamin Q, Wagon Wheels

12 Steps of Narcotics Anonymous PDF

What is a Quaalude? To put it simply, a Quaalude is a central nervous system depressant drug that was first synthesized in the 1950s.

Quaaludes Effects Statistics

What is in a Quaalude? Methaqualone, the primary component of Quaaludes, is a CNS depressant that operates by boosting the activation of GABA receptors in the brain, which reacts to the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). It was also thought to be a successful medication for treating anxiety because when GABA is released, it lowers the heart rate, respiration, pulse, and blood pressure and makes the individual feel calm. Although it also causes sensations of exhilaration and well-being, its risk for addiction outweighs any advantages.

34 Million

By 1973, there were more than 34 million prescriptions written for Quaaludes in the U.S., and they were one of the most prescribed sedatives in America.

Source: NCBI


Today, depressants, opioids, and antidepressants are responsible for more overdose deaths (45%) than cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, and amphetamines (39%) combined.

Source: NCBI

18 Million

Around 18 million people misuse prescription drugs like central nervous system depressants.

Source: NCBI

Common Side Effects Of Quaaludes Abuse

  • Dizziness.
  • Nausea.
  • Abdominal cramps.
  • Tingling in arms and legs.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Dry mouth.
  • Sweating.
  • Vomiting.
  • Seizures.
  • Itching.
  • Fatigue.
  • Rashes.
  • Slowed breathing.
  • Reduced heart rate.
  • Overdose (can be fatal).
  • Depression.
  • Increased Anxiety.
  • Delirium.
  • Respiratory arrest.
  • Kidney or liver damage.
  • Paresthesias – Numbness of the fingers and toes.
  • Photophobia – An extreme sensitivity to light.
  • Mood disorders.

Quaaludes Overdose

The Methaqualone you find today is produced in illegal laboratories. Therefore, the contents and strengths vary substantially. This doubles the risk of overdose and ill effects of this drug. Quaaludes kick in after around 30 minutes. The effects’ duration is between 5 and 8 hours, depending on the user’s tolerance for the drug. For first-time users of Quaaludes, taking over 300mg of the drug can be dangerous. Daily doses of 8000mg can be fatal, although this will depend on the users’ tolerance. When this drug is taken with alcohol, overdose, and death can happen at much lower doses.

According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) [3], they have recently utilized the technique of resin hemoperfusion (employing an Amberlite XAD-4 resin cartridge) to remove this drug from a person in a deep coma after estimated ingestion of greater than 4.5 grams of methaqualone. The amount of methaqualone recovered from the cartridge at the end of the 10-hour procedure was 1,565 mg, measured by gas chromatography. The patient became responsive to deep pain by the end of the procedure.

Symptoms Of Quaaludes Overdose

  • Convulsions
  • Delirium
  • Muscle spasms
  • Seizure
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Shortness or loss of breath
  • Vomiting or nausea
  • Coma or death

Treatment For Drug Addiction And Quaalude Abuse

A person who has a problem with prescription painkillers or barbiturates similar to Quaaludes is more likely to overdose or inflict self-harm. It is essential to be able to recognize the severity of the problem and to seek treatment immediately. We Level Up Florida will help you with either inpatient or outpatient therapy, depending on the extent of your addiction. Medication-assisted treatment can ease some of the problems of detoxing and drug withdrawal. Once your system is clean, you’ll move on with a range of counseling and psychotherapy to set a solid foundation for your ongoing recovery.

Methaqualone Medically-Assisted Detox

Most drug and alcohol treatments will utilize detoxification programs and behavioral counseling programs. During detoxification, a person will likely go through a multi-day process to help them safely get through the withdrawal symptoms of their respective drug. During this time, they will be medically supervised and may be given medication to help safely wean them past their addiction problems. Detox is done at the beginning of treatment so that withdrawal symptoms do not interfere with other parts of treatment, such as behavioral therapy sessions.

We Level Up Florida Quaalude Medically-Assisted Detox
We Level Up Florida Quaalude Medically-Assisted Detox

Abruptly stopping use triggers intense withdrawal symptoms. Detoxification can take seven to ten days. Sedatives and antidepressants may be prescribed to ease symptoms. Inpatient treatment may be used. As with alcohol rehab, recovery is life-long, focusing on rehabilitation and avoiding substance use. Professional detox treatment can limit the distress of detox while ensuring your safety. Detox facilitates the removal of unwanted substances from the body and is an invaluable intervention to initiate recovery. Moreover, as a person seeking drug detox, you can expect several primary types of treatment.

Benefits Of Methaqualone Detox

  • Drug abuse treatment planning.
  • Peer support.
  • Medical care and monitoring.
  • Safe and drug-free environment.
  • Medications to mitigate withdrawal symptoms and reduce cravings.
  • Mental health care.
  • Lower risk of relapse.

Behavioral Therapies

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) can improve individuals’ behavior. CBT targets negative and maladaptive thought patterns as it promotes positive emotions and beliefs, while DBT helps individuals address conflicting impulses to make healthy choices. Both therapies treat substance abuse, anxiety disorders, and other mood issues. Therapy also empowers patients to identify, avoid and mitigate cues that trigger drug cravings.

Individual And Group Counseling

Addiction and mental health counseling occur in both individual and group settings. One-on-one treatment sessions may address unresolved trauma, unconscious conflicts, and specific struggles, while group sessions often involve training in life skills, stress management, conflict resolution, and social connections. Group counseling allows individuals to share their thoughts and experiences to develop social support, which is essential for lasting recovery.

Find The Right Primary Mental Health Treatment with Co-Occurring Addiction Diagnosis

Inpatient medical detox and primary residential addiction treatment may be available at our affiliated facility at Level Up West Palm Beach Rehab. For some primary behavioral health treatment clients, medical detox and or addiction rehab may be required first.  If you have a co-occurring severe substance abuse diagnosis, please contact us before beginning inpatient mental health therapy. Treatment services may vary. Please call us to learn which treatment options are most suited to your individual needs.

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