A serenic, or antiaggressive agent, is a type of drug which reduces the capacity for irritability and aggression.[1]

The recreational drug MDMA ("ecstasy"), and a variety of related drugs, have been described as empathogen-entactogens.[2] These agents possess powerful serenic and empathy-increasing properties in addition to their euphoriant effects, and have been associated with increased sociability, friendliness, feelings of closeness to others, increased emotional empathy, and increased prosocial behavior.[3][4] The empathogenic effects of these drugs are thought to be related to their ability to temporarily increase the levels of certain brain chemicals, including serotonin,[5] dopamine, and, especially, oxytocin.[3][6][7] Other serotonergic drugs, such as 5-HT1A receptor agonists, may also possess serenic properties.[8]

Agonists and antagonists of the receptors for the endogenous hormones oxytocin and vasopressin, respectively, have been shown to decrease aggressive behavior in scientific research, implicating them in the normal regulation of pathways involving aggressive behavior in the brain.[9][10] Certain neurosteroids, such as allopregnanolone, also appear to play a role in the regulation of aggression, including, notably, sexually-dimorphic aggressive behavior.[11]


As of yet, there are no specific serenic drugs available to treat aggression or other conditions in clinical use.[12][13]


  1. ^ Olivier, Berend; Mos, Jan (1986). "Serenics and aggression". Stress Medicine 2 (3): 197–209.  
  2. ^ Bedi G, Hyman D, de Wit H (December 2010). "Is ecstasy an "empathogen"? Effects of ±3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine on prosocial feelings and identification of emotional states in others". Biol. Psychiatry 68 (12): 1134–40.  
  3. ^ a b Hysek CM, Schmid Y, Simmler LD, et al. (October 2013). "MDMA enhances emotional empathy and prosocial behavior". Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci.  
  4. ^ Cami J, Farré M, Mas M, et al. (August 2000). "Human pharmacology of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine ("ecstasy"): psychomotor performance and subjective effects". J Clin Psychopharmacol 20 (4): 455–66.  
  5. ^ Piper BJ, Fraiman JB, Owens CB, Ali SF, Meyer JS (April 2008). "Dissociation of the neurochemical and behavioral toxicology of MDMA ('Ecstasy') by citalopram". Neuropsychopharmacology 33 (5): 1192–205.  
  6. ^ Dumont GJ, Sweep FC, van der Steen R, et al. (2009). "Increased oxytocin concentrations and prosocial feelings in humans after ecstasy (3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine) administration". Soc Neurosci 4 (4): 359–66.  
  7. ^ Broadbear JH, Kabel D, Tracy L, Mak P (April 2014). "Oxytocinergic regulation of endogenous as well as drug-induced mood". Pharmacol. Biochem. Behav. 119: 61–71.  
  8. ^ de Boer SF, Koolhaas JM (December 2005). "5-HT1A and 5-HT1B receptor agonists and aggression: a pharmacological challenge of the serotonin deficiency hypothesis". Eur. J. Pharmacol. 526 (1-3): 125–39.  
  9. ^ Calcagnoli F, de Boer SF, Althaus M, den Boer JA, Koolhaas JM (October 2013). "Antiaggressive activity of central oxytocin in male rats". Psychopharmacology (Berl.) 229 (4): 639–51.  
  10. ^ Ferris CF, Lu SF, Messenger T, et al. (February 2006). "Orally active vasopressin V1a receptor antagonist, SRX251, selectively blocks aggressive behavior". Pharmacol. Biochem. Behav. 83 (2): 169–74.  
  11. ^ Pinna G, Agis-Balboa RC, Pibiri F, Nelson M, Guidotti A, Costa E (October 2008). "Neurosteroid biosynthesis regulates sexually dimorphic fear and aggressive behavior in mice". Neurochem. Res. 33 (10): 1990–2007.  
  12. ^ Verhoeven, W.M.A., & Tuinier, S.. (2007). Serenics: Anti-aggression drugs throughout history. Clinical Neuropsychiatry: journal of treatments evaluation, 135–143. Retrieved from
  13. ^ PDF Document: Source: