What is methaqualone (quaaludes) and how is it used and abused

What is a Quaalude Drug

Methaqualone (Quaaludes) is a depressant that affects the central nervous system. The drug’s effects are similar to those of barbiturates, although they are unrelated pharmacologically. Although many people are not familiar with methaqualone, it’s a commonly abused drug in many areas of the world, especially in South Africa. Its effects are extremely potent, which causes heavy abuse and a fast addiction. With the numbers 714 stamped on the tablets, many people call them “Lemmon 714 Pills” (or “Lemmons”) as an  alternate name for Quaaludes. 

Historical Background of Quaalude Drugs

United States pharmaceutical companies introduced the drug in the 1960’s. It was marketed as a “non-addictive” sleeping pill and was approved by the US government under the trade name Quaalude. Very soon after its introduction, it was being heavily abused and causing people to develop anxiety, severe depression, and addiction. As a result, the drug was listed as being psychoactive and was banned in many countries by the mid-1970s.

Although illegal, the drug was not forgotten as Quaaludes began to be sold on the black market. It should be noted that some countries still produce methaqualone as a pharmaceutical medication.

How Do Quaaludes Work?

Methaqualone (Quaaludes) is mainly a GABAA receptor modulator that peaks in the bloodstream after several hours and has a half-life of up to 60 hours. Methaqualone functions as a sedative via allosteric modulation, much like alcohol and benzodiazepines.

Methaqualone can also produce physical dependence with frequent and extended use similar to other GABAreceptors.

Quaaludes are absorbed through the gastrointestinal tract. The Quaaludes effects begin to take place 20-45 minutes after ingestion. The high can last between 4 and 8 hours, but will ultimately depend on how much the user took.

Use of Quaaludes

This drug typically comes in a tablet or capsule form and is usually taken orally. It is completely tasteless and odourless and is relatively inexpensive. However, in certain areas, it is crushed and mixed with marijuana and then smoked. Some heavy abusers will liquefy it and inject it into their veins. Names that methaqualone is sold under include:

·   Quaalude

·   Sopor

·   Cateudil

·   Isonox

·   Mandrax

·   Motolon

·   Normi-Nox

·   Optimil

·   Parest

·   Revonal

·   Somnafac

·   Sovinal

On the streets, the drug may be referred to as:

·   French Quaalude

·   Ludes

·   Furies

·   Mandrakes

·   Quas

·   Quacks

·   Quads

·   Lemmon 714 Pills, Lemmons or 714s

·   Soaps

·   Soapers

·   Sopes

·   Super Quaaludes

·   Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

·    Super Soper

Overdose Risks

Many users of Methaqualone (Quaaludes) have misjudged the potency of the little tablets and thus have overdosed. Overdosing on Methaqualone can be fatal, especially when it is combined with other medications or alcohol. Some overdose symptoms include:

·   Convulsions,

·   Muscle Tension,

·   Hyperreflexia

·   Delirium

·   Unconsciousness

·   Vomiting

·   Respiratory Arrest

·   Cardiac Arrest

·   Coma

If one suspects a person of overdosing, medical help should be sought immediately.

Contraindications and Precautions

Like any sedative, Quaaludes should never be combined with alcohol or other nervous system depressants. People using Quaaludes should not drive or operate heavy machinery.

Side Effects of Quaaludes

Because the drug can cause sedation, the typical user will force themself to stay awake; once the drowsiness has subsided, the user will feel a dissociative high. Users claim that Methaqualone side effects cause a loss of inhibitions, a sense of well-being, and an all-together euphoric and mellow high. However, there are fairly common unwanted side effects that Methaqualone users may experience. These include:

·   Slurred Speech

·   Motor Dysfunction

·   Nausea

·   Vomiting

·   Stomach Pain

·   Sweating

·   Rapid Heartbeat

·   Hives

·   Dizziness

·   Loss Of Appetite

·   Anxiety

·   Sexual Dysfunction

·   Memory Loss

·   Weakness

Abuse and Dependence

A tolerance to Methaqualone can develop very rapidly in frequent users. There is also a possibility of cross-tolerance. This means that if a user is taking other sedatives, they will also build a tolerance to those sedatives as well. Within a few days of abuse, the user will notice their tolerance has significantly increased. A tolerance to methaqualone’s euphoric effects develops more rapidly than a tolerance to the respiratory depressant effects. This makes overdosing on the drug easier as abusers will begin to increase their consumption to “chase their high”. Within as little as two weeks, an abuser can develop a physical addiction to Methaqualone (Quaaludes).

As with many other drugs, a user who is addicted to Methaqualone will experience withdrawal symptoms when trying to quit. Withdrawal symptoms are similar to barbiturates and include:

·   Irritability

·   Restlessness,

·   Insomnia

·   Loss Of Appetite

·   Nausea

·   Vomiting

·   Tremors

·   Muscle Spasms

·   Confusion

·   Delirium

·   Hallucinations

·   High Fevers

·   Potentially Fatal Seizures.

The psychological addiction is extremely serious and can take months or even years to get over. Normally, anyone with an addiction to Quaaludes will need to go through a strict detox and then go to a rehab for further treatment. With determination and effort, a Methaqualone addiction can be cured.

Legal Status and History

Methaqualone (Quaaludes) was first synthesized in India in 1951. By the late 1970s, it was being manufactured by several pharmaceutical companies in the US and was extremely popular. However, the negative effects of the consequences of taking sedatives soon began to make headlines around the world. In 1984, the drug was added to the list of Schedule 1 narcotics in the US and was declared a Class B drug in the UK. Other countries soon followed suit, and today, the Quaalude drug is illegal to manufacture, distribute, possess or consume in most of the world’s countries.

If you or someone you know is suffering from any type of addiction,


Normally anyone with an addiction to methaqualone (Quaaludes) will need to go through a strict detox and then to a rehab for further treatment. With determination and effort, a methaqualone(Quaaludes) addiction can be cured.

About the Author

The Cabin Clinical Team

The Cabin Clinical Team

Our team boasts over 10 years of experience working with individuals struggling with addiction and mental health challenges. This extensive experience allows us to provide comprehensive assessments, develop personalized treatment plans, and deliver evidence-based interventions tailored to meet your unique needs.

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