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Death may occur when GABAergic substances are combined with depressants such as opiates, benzodiazepines, barbiturates, thienodiazepines or alcohol [1].

It is strongly discouraged to consume moderate to heavy dosages of these substances together [2].

Also known as

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, cateudil, dormutil, hyminal, isonox, melsed, melsedin, mequelone, mequin, methadorm, mozambin, optimil, parest, renoval, somnafac, toquilone compositum, triador, tuazole.




Mandrax is a trade name for methaqualone, a pharmaceutical depressant. It is a synthetic drug that is compiled by means of the mixing of chemicals in a chemical process and a tablet is then produced. At one point, Mandraz was known as a safe and non-dependent drug. People even called it an miracle cure, being prescribed as a sleep aid and to reduce high blood pressure and anxiety attacks.

Eventually serious side-effects of Mandrax were seen, even life threatening when taking with Alcohol, and that it could cause psychological and physical dependency. Because of its misuse, Mandrax was banned in many parts of the world. However this did not stop its illegal production and distribution by crime syndicates in the following countries: India, Pakistan, Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Swaziland, Mozambique, South Africa, and The Far East [3].

Mandrax was originally created as a sleep aid, being used to help reduce high blood pressure and anxiety attacks. However this highly addictive depressant medication was quickly outlawed once its life threatening side effects were recognised. Today it is illegally produced by means of clandestine laboratories. South Africa is the largest abuser of Mandrax in the world.

While it typically comes in pill form, Mandrax is smoked to get a greater 'Rush'. Many people who have developed a tolerance to the drug will then begin to take Mandrax with small amounts of Dagga to achieve the desire affects. Mandraz can cause people to become physically dependent on it and have severe withdrawal symptoms in rehabilitation [3].

What does it look like?

Originally Mandrax were smooth, firm white tablets with Mx written on the side of the tablet. Nowadays they can also be grey or yellow in colour, slightly freckled and with soft crumbly texture. They vary in colour, size and texture because they sometimes contain other drugs and are made illegally without keeping to proper standards [4].

How long do its effects last?

Onset of effects

  • oral - 30 minutes [2].
  • all ROA's - 30 - 45 minutes[5].

Come up

  • oral - 30 minutes [2].


  • oral - 2 - 4 hours [2].


  • oral - 2 - 4 hours [2].

Duration of effects

  • smoked - 1 - 2 hours [2].
  • oral - 5 - 8 hours [2].
  • all ROA's - 5 - 8 hours[5].


  • oral - 6 - 8 hours [2].
  • all ROA's - 4 - 6 hours [5].


Despite prior speculation, a 2015 study demonstrates that methaqualone exhibits distinct functional properties at the GABA receptor sites compared with other allosteric modulators, and it mediates these through a different mechanism than the barbiturates and benzodiazepines that it historically has been lumped together with [6].

These distinctions could contribute to the reported differences in the in vivo effects induced by methaqualone and classic CNS depressants. In any case, the multifaceted functionality of methaqualone at GABA A receptors seems to be at the root of its clinical efficacy, as well as the addiction liability and recreational use associated with the drug [6].

It could be speculated that despite differences in targeted receptors, methaqualone essentially produces a variety of effects by binding to its receptor sites and magnifying the efficiency and effects of the neurotransmitter GABA by acting on its receptors. As this site is the most prolific inhibitory receptor set within the brain, its modulation would explain the resulting sedating or calming effects which ensue [2].

Lethal dosage

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 [2].


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 [2].

The person who uses Mandrax for a while finds it necessary to use more and more. Such a person's body has developed a tolerance to Mandrax and needs to use more to reach the same effects [4].

Mode of use

Mandrax are usually smoked but can be swallowed or injected. Most people crush the tablets, mix them with dagga and smoke them in a pipe or bottleneck [4].

Signs of usage

  • yellow stained hands,
  • bloodshot eyes,
  • gaunt appearance,
  • rotten teeth,
  • drowsiness,
  • unnatural sleeping patterns,
  • loss of appetite,
  • increased saliva secretion,
  • swollen abdomen [3], [7].


Short-term effects

  • relaxation - feeling happy (or laughing), calm and carefree,
  • confusion,
  • aggression - when the high wears off,
  • nausea and vomiting,
  • falling over and passing out,
  • sleep [8].

Long-term effects

  • risk of addiction - tolerance is built up rapidly
  • decreased immune system,
  • convulsions,
  • mental and physical deterioration,
  • breathing becomes slower leading to respiratory failure, comas or death [8].

Physical effects

  • changes in gravity,
  • muscle relaxation,
  • physical euphoria,
  • motor control loss,
  • respiratory depression,
  • sedation,
  • constipation,
  • dizziness [2].

Cognitive effects

  • cognitive euphoria,
  • compulsive redosing,
  • subconscious communication,
  • dream potentiation,
  • increased libido,
  • increased music appreciation,
  • anxiety suppression,
  • disinhibition,
  • information processing suppression,
  • thought deceleration [2].

Visual effects

  • acuity suppression,
  • double vision,
  • visual disconnection,
  • internal hallucinations [2].


  • serious emotional problems,
  • depression,
  • drastic weight loss,
  • headaches,
  • stomach cramps,
  • insomnia,
  • epilepsy,
  • aggression,
  • toxic psychosis,
  • loss of muscle control [7].


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 [2].


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 [2].

Withdrawal may last a few days and start a few days after stopping use. Some signs of withdrawal are -

  • sleeping problems,
  • nervous,
  • anxious,
  • irritable feelings,
  • headaches,
  • restlessness,
  • eating problems [4].


  • broken bottles and bottle necks,
  • homemade filters - known as a 'Diamond',
  • brown stained tissues,
  • containers used to spit in,
  • lotto and tab tickets in which tablets are crushed [9].


Mandrax is a highly addictive drug that produces severe symptoms of withdrawal during rehabilitation. This is why most patients suffering from an Mandrax addiction require detoxification to control cravings and symptoms of withdrawal, allowing them to safely work though the withdrawal period. Patient also go through extensive therapy and counseling session to get to the root cause of the addiction, getting a full understanding of their addiction and developing the key skills needed to maintain their sobriety in their day to day lives [3].

Most people suffering from an Mandrax addiction require detoxification to control cravings and symptoms of withdrawal, allowing them to safely work though the withdrawal period. Patients also go through extensive therapy and counseling sessions to get to the root cause of the addiction, getting a full understanding of their addiction and developing the key skills needed to maintain their sobriety in their day to day lives [7].


Mandrax is a synthetic drug that is compiled by means of the mixing of chemicals in a chemical process and a tablet is then produced. The active ingredient in Mandrax is Methaqualone.

In the sixties and early seventies these tablets were prescribed as sleeping tablets. Other medicinal uses included illnesses like high blood pressure and anxiety attacks.

Mandrax was originally known as a safe and non-dependent drug. It was the drug that people reckoned was going to be the miracle cure of the world at its time.

It was however found that Mandrax had various side-effects, especially if it was used with Dagga and alcohol, which was life threatening because it caused psychological and physical dependency. This caused a drastic increase in burglaries, especially at pharmacies, where it was found that Mandrax specifically was stolen. Mandrax was banned in most parts of the world because of the misuse [9].


  1. Risks of Combining Depressants, 2015,
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 Methaqualone, 2017,
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Mandrax, 2016,
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Mandrax, 2016,
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Methaqualone, 2017,
  6. 6.0 6.1 Hammer, H. and Bader, B. M. and Ehnert, C. And Bundgaard, C. and Bunch, L. and Hoestgaard-Jensen, K. and Schroder, O. and Bastlund, J. F. and Gramowski-Voss, A. and Jensen, A. A., A Multifaceted GABAA Receptor Modulator: Functional Properties and Mechanism of Action of the Sedative-Hypnotic and Recreational Drug Methaqualone (Quaalude), Molecular Pharmacology, 2015, 88, 2, 401-420,,
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Mandrax: Uses, Symptoms, Signs and Addiction Treatment, 2017,
  8. 8.0 8.1 Mandrax, 2017,
  9. 9.0 9.1 Mandrax, 2016,