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Quaaludes Effects, Uses, & Addiction Treatment

If you regularly use Quaaludes, you will start to develop a tolerance to the drug, which means you will need to take more of it to have the same effects. Read more about the treatment options for you or your loved ones struggling with Quaaludes addiction.

By We Level Up | Editor Yamilla Francese | Clinically Reviewed By Lauren Barry, LMFT, MCAP, QS, Director of Quality Assurance | Editorial Policy | Research Policy | Last Updated: January 13, 2023

Quaaludes Effects

Quaaludes are both hypnotic and sedative, affecting both the body and mind. Apart from its recreational effects, withdrawal symptoms can be difficult, requiring specialized drug addiction rehab. Drug addiction rehab centers look for muscle tremors, anxiety, 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 those of benzodiazepines and barbiturates in that it slows down the functions of the brain. Once the beneficial effects of this drug were established, it was believed that it would be safer than barbiturates and have less potential for being abused. What ended up occurring was a different story. Soon the addictive effects of Quaaludes eventually began to outweigh the medical benefits of the drug.

Common Quaalude Effects

Knowing the signs and symptoms of Quaalude abuse and addiction can be helpful to you or a loved one. If you or a loved one is experiencing any of these possible side effects resulting from Quaaludes, please seek help. It is essential to seek medical attention as soon as possible.

  • 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

What Are Quaaludes Drugs?

Quaalude is the brand name for a synthetic, sedative-hypnotic drug called methaqualone. They also go by brand names like Malsed, Removal, Malsedin, Cloroqualone, and Etaqualone. Quaaludes are central nervous system depressants that were popularly prescribed as sleep aids and were used as recreational drugs between the 1960s and 1980s until they were banned by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

The main ingredient in Quaaludes is methaqualone, which is an anxiolytic, or a drug used to reduce anxiety, and a sedative that acts as a hypnotic drug to induce drowsiness and sleep. Although they were originally marketed as a safe substitute for barbiturates to promote sleep, their potential for abuse and addiction was quickly discovered. Despite being illegal, Quaalude drugs are often sold on the black market. They usually come in the form of tablets with the number 714 imprinted on them or capsules that are tasteless, odorless, and cheap.

The most common ways to ingest Quaalude drugs are by taking them as pills or capsules, crushing them to mix with marijuana and smoke, or by liquifying them to be drunk or injected. Common street names for Quaaludes include 714s, Lemmons, soapers, and Ludes. The abuse of Quaalude drugs can lead to various adverse side effects and long-term health problems.

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. If you’ve ever heard of Quaaludes, sometimes called Lemmons, then you may think back to the 1970s. Although they’re usually considered older drugs that only existed in a different generation, they’re still very common.

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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

Depressants Drug Fact Sheet Publicly Made Available by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) for Drug Addiction Awareness

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

45%

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


What are the effects of Quaaludes? Quaaludes that are sold only for illicit recreational use now are synthesized in illegal laboratories.
What are the effects of Quaaludes? Quaaludes that are sold only for illicit recreational use now are synthesized in illegal laboratories.

What Are Quaaludes Used For? Are Quaaludes Illegal?

Quaaludes were first synthesized in India in the 1950s. It was introduced into America in the 1960s and by the late ’60s and ’70s it became a popular recreational drug, often found in discos and referred to as a “disco biscuit”. The abuse potential of Quaaludes soon became apparent and in 1973 methaqualone was placed in Schedule II of the Controlled Substance Act, making it difficult to prescribe and illegal to possess without a prescription.

In 1984 it was moved to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Federal Schedule I, so Quaalude drug is no longer legally available in the United States. Schedule I drugs 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.

Quaaludes that are sold only for illicit recreational use now are synthesized in illegal laboratories. Illegally produced Quaaludes drugs can contain other central nervous system depressants such as benzodiazepines or even fentanyl. In the 1960s a methaqualone and diphenhydramine combination pill called Mandrax was sold as a sedative. Current Mandrax pills, made illegally, may also contain benzodiazepines, barbiturates, or ephedrine.

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Quaaludes Side Effects

If you suspect Quaalude drug abuse by a loved one, it’s helpful to be aware of any indicative signs and symptoms. Quaalude drug effects usually peak within a few hours after it has been ingested and may stay in the person’s system for anywhere between 20 and 60 hours.

The most common Quaalude drug side effects include:

  • Euphoria
  • Sense of well-being
  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Slurred speech
  • Memory problems
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach cramps
  • Rash and itching
  • Hives
  • Excessive sweating
  • Dry mouth
  • Tingling or numbing sensation in the extremities
  • Reduce heart rate
  • Shallow or slowed breathing
  • Seizures

Gauging the Effect of Quaaludes. How Do Quaaludes Affects The Body?

The active ingredient in Quaaludes, methaqualone, is a central nervous system depressant that works by increasing the activity of GABA receptors in the brain, which respond to a neurotransmitter called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). When GABA is released, it drops the heart rate, breathing, pulse, and blood pressure, causing the person to feel relaxed, so it was also considered an effective form of anxiety treatment. However, due to the feelings of euphoria and sense of well-being it also produces, its potential for addiction outweighed any of its benefits.

What are the Negative Effects of Quaaludes?

Quaalude addiction is a danger for those who abuse it. In large doses, the drug can cause:

  • Respiratory depression
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Slurred speech
  • Headache
  • Memory loss
  • Seizures
  • Depression
  • Pneumonia
  • Overdose (can be fatal)

Quaaludes side effects explain more about what the drug can do to harm a person. Aside from Quaalude’s recreational effects, withdrawal symptoms can be severe, requiring specialized drug rehab. Drug rehab centers look for muscle tremors, anxiety, irritability hyperthermia, tachycardia, nausea, hallucinations, and skin blisters common with barbiturate abuse. Difficulties with coordination and muscle control are common methaqualone long-term effects.

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Quaaludes Side Effects

Because of its effects on breathing, Quaalude drug abuse can also lead to respiratory depression or extremely shallow breathing. It can also cause erectile dysfunction and other issues related to sexual intercourse. In high doses, Quaaludes can cause severe confusion and complete loss of motor control – also known as ataxia – as well as overdose. A person who has developed a severe dependence on Quaaludes should receive professional treatment right away. At We Level Up rehab treatment & detox center, we offer a medically monitored detox that helps wean patients off of drugs and alcohol while addressing uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms.

As with any other form of substance abuse, Quaalude drug addiction isn’t just limited to physical struggles, but can also cause relationship problems and financial issues. Many individuals who continue abusing drugs or alcohol long-term also develop mental illness. Quaaludes can make it nearly impossible for a person to stay healthy and enjoy their life.

Can You Still Get Them Today?

The rights to openly purchase Quaaludes were discontinued in the US in 1985. Ultimately, it was a combination of the drug’s strong psychological addictiveness and widespread recreational abuse that led to the downfall of ludes. By 1985, the drug was moved to Schedule I on the DEA’s list. Schedule I drugs are considered to have no legitimate medical use, have a high potential for abuse, and be lacking in safety even when used under medical supervision.

What are the effects of Quaaludes?  Quaalude side effects and drug abuse can also lead to respiratory depression or extremely shallow breathing.
What are the effects of Quaaludes? Quaalude side effects and drug abuse can also lead to respiratory depression or extremely shallow breathing.

According to DEA estimates, there were 20 million Quaaludes on the streets of the US in 1980, a number they projected would double within a year. What happened, though, was the precise opposite, with the problem not only subsiding but being effectively eliminated in a matter of a few short years. How did the DEA manage to win this war on drugs where all others seem to have roundly failed?

Well, with Quaaludes, this was accomplished by going after the source rather than the end-user. By targeting the manufacturers of methaqualone powder all over the work and inducing them to stop production, the US government worked tirelessly to put a stop to what was becoming a clear and present danger. At the same time as this aggressive action, doctors started to use alternative treatments for insomnia, in large part due to the enormous stigma generated by Quaaludes.

President Reagan banned the domestic production and sales of Quaaludes in 1984. Despite this, there are still labs making Quaaludes in Mexico and elsewhere in the world. The drug is also still found in India and South Africa, although under different names.

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The Dangers of Quaaludes Side Effects

A Quaalude is a hypnotic drug. Known as methaqualone, it is a central nervous system depressant that triggers euphoria and drowsiness, similar to the description of diazepam use. A Quaalude high can also reduce heart rate and respiration and increase sexual arousal. In recent years, Quaaludes have become a focus of drug addiction.

Quaalude Addiction Treatments

Your treatment plan should be created for your specific experiences with Quaaludes and other addictive substances. At an addiction center, you will be assessed by addiction and mental health professionals to document your history, current complications, and any co-occurring mental health needs.

What are the effects of Quaaludes? The illegal use of Ludes can cause damaging effects on the abuser.
What are the effects of Quaaludes? The illegal use of Ludes can cause damaging effects on the abuser.

Then, your program will be tailored to exactly what you need to find peace in recovery. There are many different treatment options that your addiction center will provide, such as:

With all of these services and a team of trained mental health professionals by your side, you can regain control over your addiction to this hypnotic drug once and for all.

Reclaim Your Life From Quaalude Drug Abuse

At We Level Up inpatient rehab & detox center, we offer a medically monitored detox that helps wean patients off of drugs and alcohol while addressing uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. Quaalude drug addiction is a condition that can cause major health, social and economic problems that should not be taken lightly. We Level Up can provide you, or someone you love, the tools to recover from Quaalude drug addiction with professional and safe treatment including medically assisted detox programs. Feel free to call us to speak with one of our counselors. We can inform you about this condition by giving you relevant information. Our specialists know what you are going through. Please know that each call is private and confidential.

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