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Created Oct 2019 | Updated Nov 2020


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DEA CODE 2565: Schedule 1

Methaqualone is a depressant that modulates the activity of the GABA receptors in the brain and nervous system. It promotes relaxation, sleepiness and sometimes a feeling of euphoria. It causes a drop in blood pressure and slows the pulse rate. These properties are the reason why it was initially thought to be a useful sedative and anxiolytic. Common side effects of Methaqualone include dizziness, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, fatigue, itching, rashes, sweating, dry mouth, tingling sensation in arms and legs, seizures and its depressant effects include reduced heart rate and respiration. The drug became banned in many countries and was withdrawn from many markets in the early 1980s.

Quaalude was the party drug of the 1970s:
A depressant, Quaalude (methaqualone) was known as "disco biscuits" because it released users' sexual inhibitions, making it a nightlife mainstay. But use plummeted in the U.S. following the drug's prohibition some 30 years ago.

Old Quaalude 300 ad

What are quaaludes?
Quaaludes (methaqualone) are a synthetic, barbiturate-like, central nervous system depressant and a popular recreational drug in the U.S. from the 1960s until the 1980s, when its use was made illegal by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). The active ingredient, methaqualone, is an anxiolytic (lowers anxiety) and a sedative-hypnotic drug that leads to a state of drowsiness. These drugs, imprinted with the number "714" on the tablet, 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. Quaaludes are rarely encountered on the streets in the U.S. today, but are occasionally confiscated coming across the border.

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

One of the most potent sedative hypnotic drugs ever produced:
Methaqualone is also called Sopor, Parest, Quaalude, and Mecquin. It is one of the most potent sedative hypnotic drugs ever produced, and its production was banned by the U.S. government in 1984 because of its highly addictive potential. It is often produced illegally using ingredients that may be dangerous.

Tolerance to methaqualone can develop in as little as four days:
As you continue to use methaqualone, your body requires you to take more frequent or higher doses to achieve the same effect. Overdose then becomes a serious risk when methaqualone addiction or dependency develops, because physical tolerance to the drug builds more slowly than psychological tolerance. This means that while your brain is craving more methaqualone, your body is warning that it has had enough.

Quaaludes Were Once Among the Most Prescribed Sedatives in the United States:
The rise of Quaaludes' popularity as a recreational drug can largely be attributed to the frequency with which it was prescribed to legitimate patients. By 1972, Quaaludes soared near the top of the charts as one of the most prescribed sedatives in the United States despite tightened control in both the US and Britain around their use and dispensing. The recreational Quaalude industry was supplied by legitimately-manufactured pills that were diverted to the drug black-market combined with counterfeit drugs developed in South America and criminal labs in the United States. By the early 1980s, the DEA considered Quaalude abuse second only to marijuana, estimating that as much as 90 percent of the drug's production went directly to the illegal drug trade. In 1980, the enforcement agency projected that in just one year, the 20 million pills on the street would double to match levels equivalent to that of heroin.

Say Goodbye to Your Sex Life:
You might want to chase your dose of Quaaludes with a side of Viagra. Among its other side effects - dizziness, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, sweating, seizures, tingling in the arms and legs, reduced heart rate and respiration - Quaaludes can also cause erectile dysfunction and cause difficulty when attempting to reach orgasm. At even higher doses, the drug can cause mental confusion and loss of muscle control, so you won't necessarily understand why your arm keeps shooting up in the air but your friend down south won't move an inch.

You'll Probably Never Get the Opportunity to Try the Drug
Recognizing that the Quaalude problem was only getting worse, the DEA took immediate and drastic action to get the drug off the streets. By 1984, the DEA had all but eliminated Quaaludes from the U.S. marketplace by traveling the world and convincing governments in the countries where methaqualone powder was manufactured to shut down the trade. Eventually, this strategy worked, and the Colombians responsible for so much of the illegally manufactured drug could no longer get the powder required to make it.

Quaaludes today are as mythical as a unicorn:
Methaqualone was legal from 1961 - 1984. The bootleg period existed from 1984 - 1988. Then it just disappeared. The drug name "Quaalude" combined the words "quiet" and "interlude." Quaaludes today are as mythical as a unicorn but the truth is, they did once exist. The story of Quaaludes is quite interesting too. It molds how the DEA and medical industry control substances today.

It was in the 1950s that a lab in India synthesized Methaqualone. It was originally found to fight malaria and was also recognized to be a sedative. Germany and Japan were the first big markets. Over the period of legalization of the drug in these countries, there was a lot of abuse and addiction. Not until 1962 was it patented as a sedative in Britain and branded with the name Mandrax. In the 1970s, the medical industry in the UK began to prescribe it as a sleeping aid. The Quaalude high was relaxing and gentle. It was also very easy to get your hands on. Teenagers would "lude out". This was a combination of drinking alcohol and taking Quaaludes. They would experience a drunken, sleepy high. Overdose was common and lead to delirium, kidney failure, liver damage, coma, and possibly death. By the time it reached the US in the 1960s, it was being used to treat insomnia and anxiety. However, it didn't take long for the drug's potent features to be misused. A study from 1961 stated that Methaqualone was effective in treating depression. They compared it to a similar success rate of electric shock therapy. The study states that Quaalude dosage occasionally needed to be increased to continue working. Today, that's our version of tolerance and it's a sign of drug addiction. Juice bars were something set up in Manhattan. Non-alcoholic drinks were served. These bars catered to people who wanted to dance on methaqualone. The stamp '714' was the signature stamp for the 'disco biscuit.' That was the number you would find on Quaaludes. Keep in mind, this was a prescription drug that was legal at the time.

More Quaalude History:
It was introduced as a product that was supposed to be a safe barbiturate substitute, with less chance of becoming habit forming. This was an important consideration and helped the drug become popular fairly quickly after its debut.

It should be noted that in 1902 the Bayer company produced a substance with the generic name barbital, also known as barbitone. It was the first barbiturate to be synthesized. In 1904 the company started marketing barbital as Veronal. It was most often taken to help a person sleep and proved to be an improvement, when compared to other medications available at that time. Barbiturates enjoyed a fairly good reputation until the 1940s and 1950s. At that time their psychological and physical dependence problems became more widely recognized. In addition there were an increasing number of overdose fatalities.

As a result of this, in the 1950s and 1960s, more and more doctors were reducing the number of barbiturate prescriptions that they wrote. This resulted in the need for a product with similar properties to fill the gap. Some of the early drugs utilized to replace barbiturates were two classes of drugs known as benzodiazepines and quinazolinones. The benzodiazepine known as chlordiazepoxide (brand name Librium) became available worldwide in 1960. In the USA, the quinazolinone known as methaqualone became available in 1962. Both benzodiazepines and quinazolinones were welcomed by the medical community as, what were supposed to be, non-addictive and safer alternatives to barbiturates. By 1965, methaqualone was the number one sedative in the United Kingdom. At that time it was combined with the antihistamine diphenhydramine and marketed as Mandrax, by Roussel Laboratories.

William H. Rorer Inc. was the American company that started marketing methaqualone under the brand name Quaalude. They did so in 1965, at the same time they also marketed an antacid under the brand name Maalox. The company chose to employ an unusual double a (aa) in the spelling of the names of both products. By the early 1970s, the Quaalude brand was in the top 10 best selling sedatives category in the United States. As time passed, the negative effects of long term use of quinazolinones and benzodiazepines became more apparent. By the early to mid 1980s the full extent of the dangerous side of these medications was realized.

Developed in the 60s by the same company that makes Maalox ( hence the double "a"s ). Word History: Maalox got it's name for the "ma" in magnesium, the "al" in aluminum, and the "ox" from hydroxides. Quaalude borrowed the "aa" idea and the rest of the word perhaps derives from "quiet interlude" to describe the sedation effect.

Central nervous system depressant:
Methaqualone is classed as a central nervous system depressant, a sedative-hypnotic. It's prescribed as a sedative and a sleeping pill. If you don't follow doctor's orders, though, and take a sleeping dose while you're actually running around doing things, you feel high. Specifically: relaxed to the drooping point, comfortable (the pain threshold is higher), confident, and consequently uninhibited, communicative and generous. You'll also be unable to coordinate your muscles very well, or tell where your limbs exactly are, when undertaking tricky tasks such as walking; you'll understand the meaning of the term "wallbanger." Your speech will be slurred. Your eyes may play ping-pong a little in their sockets. But none of this will matter much to you. People who have taken enough quacks can fall down flights of stairs and not feel the bruises until the next day.

On higher doses the effects are more pronounced. Coordination becomes very difficult due to muscular tremors, which it has been suspected are actually symptoms of partial anaesthesia of the muscles. An acute overdose of 2.4 grams (say, eight 300-mg tabs) can result in coma and convulsions. Death has followed a dose of as low as 8 grams. A dose higher than the sleeping dose can depress tracheo-bronchial reflexes to a dangerous degree - so that if you were to vomit in your sleep, you could choke to death, Jimi Hendrix style. Overdose and fatal dose levels are much lower if in addition to methaqualone you've taken any other downs, such as barbiturates or phenobarbs - or alcohol.

Overdose of methaqualone can lead to seizures, coma or death. Taking doses of over 300mg can be dangerous for first time users. Depending on the state of the user's individual tolerance, doses of about 8,000mg per day can be fatal whilst others on even higher doses (of up to 20,000mg) may survive. Although the exact lethal dosage of methaqualone has not been formally established, like many depressants, it is safe at appropriate dosages. Complications may arise when administered in excess or in combination with other depressants. Although many psychoactive substances are reasonably safe to use on their own, they can quickly become dangerous or even life-threatening when taken with other substances. Depressants (1,4-Butanediol, 2M2B, alcohol, benzodiazepines, barbiturates, GHB/GBL, methaqualone, opioids), Stimulants, Dissociatives.

Tolerance and addiction potential
Methaqualone is extremely addictive. Tolerance to the sedative-hypnotic effects develops within a couple of days of repeated administration. After that, it takes about 3 - 7 days for the tolerance to be reduced to half and 1 - 2 weeks to be back at baseline (in the absence of further consumption). Methaqualone presents cross-tolerance with all gabaergic depressants, meaning that after the consumption of methaqualone all compounds of the same class will have a reduced effect. Abrupt discontinuation of methaqualone following regular dosing over several days can result in a withdrawal phase which includes rebound symptoms such as increased anxiety and insomnia. It is possible to gradually reduce the dose over the course of several days, which will lengthen the duration of the withdrawal period but reduce the perceived intensity.

Methaqualone Use

Drug Testing:
UrineUp to 2 weeks
SalivaUp to 2 weeks
HairUp to 90 Days

Quaaludes and South Africa:
It may be difficult to obtain methaqualone (Quaaludes) in the United States but according to reports, it is still the most widely abused drug in South Africa. It's not so hard to imagine how some of them can end up in the United States. In fact, over the last few years, DEA special agent Eduardo Chavez said there have been sporadic seizures of Quaaludes in the U.S. This drug has "contraband" status and whatever quantities exist in the U.S would most likely have come from abroad.


A pharmaceutical depressant and sedative phased out due to the better safety profile of benzodiazepines, part of the Qualone group of substances. Now very rare, except in South Africa.

NOTE: Do not take more than 300mg without a tolerance.

RouteOnsetDurationAfter Effects
Tripsit Factsheets
All ROAs:30-45 minutes5-8 hours4-6 hours
Methaqualone Duration
All other CNS depressants.
Anxiolytic, Sedative, Muscle Relaxant, Amnesia, Dystaxia, Hypnotic.

When Prohibition Works:
One fun fact about America's endless war on drugs is that there is one - really only one - success story: Quaaludes. The reasons for this are pretty obvious. Other drugs are easy to produce or easy to smuggle into the United States. It will never be possible to ban alcohol, because humans have been making it for thousands of years. Marijuana prohibition will never work for similar reasons. But Quaaludes were a drug invented by a drug company, and produced only by other drug companies - much too complex to synthesize in a home lab. The way to end American consumption of Quaaludes was to ban their manufacture. The American government did so, and strongarmed nearly every other government into doing so as well. It worked. Some minuscule number of Americans still manage to get their hands on them, or pills claiming to be them, from the one or two countries that still do manufacture them. But they are mostly gone.

SWGDRUG PDF Methqualone

Caymanchem PDF Methqualone

Illicit methaqualone is one of the most commonly used recreational drugs in South Africa. Manufactured in clandestine, often unsanitary labs mainly in India, it comes in tablet form but is smoked with marijuana; this method of ingestion is known as "white pipe". It is also popular elsewhere in Africa and in India.

The sedative-hypnotic activity was first noted by Indian researchers in the 1950s and in 1962 methaqualone itself was patented in the US by Wallace and Tiernan. Its use peaked in the early 1970s as a hypnotic, sedative, and muscle relaxant commonly used for insomnia. It has also been used illegally as a recreational drug, commonly known as Quaaludes, Sopors, Ludes or Mandrax (particularly in the 1970s in North America) depending on the manufacturer. Since at least 2001, it has been widely used in South Africa, where it is commonly referred to as "smarties" or "geluk-tablette" (meaning happy tablets). Clandestinely produced methaqualone is still seized by government agencies and police forces around the world.

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