Amphetamine (Alpha-Methyl-PHenEThylAMINE), also known as speed, is a synthetic stimulant used to suppress the appetite, control weight, and treat disorders including narcolepsy and Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. It is also used recreationally and for performance enhancement (these uses are illegal in most countries). more...
Due to the widespread use of amphetamines as a treatment for ADD/ADHD in the USA, they frequently find their way onto the street and are one of the most frequently-abused drugs in high schools and colleges.
Patients with acute toxicity from amphetamines may have symptoms of lock-jaw, diarrhea, palpitations, arrhythmia, syncope, hyperpyrexia, and hyperreflexia progressing to convulsions and coma. Patients with chronic use of amphetamines develop a rapid tolerance to the drug and may have to increase the number of pills to reach a desired affect and eventually develop addiction. Patients that develop addiction show symptoms of restlessness, anxiety, depression, insomnia, and suicidal behavior. A urine drug screen can be performed to determine the presence of amphetamines. Patients may need to be hospitalized. Supportive therapy is important. Cooling blankets may be used for hyperthermia. Sedation may be obtained with lorazepam or diazepam. Haloperidol may be given for agitation and delusions. Hypertension and arrhythmias should be treated.
Amphetamine is a synthetic drug with strong stimulant effects. In the United States, it is most commonly used for treatment of attention-deficit disorders and narcolepsy, but is also approved as a weight-loss medication in certain cases of obesity. Within the armed forces only, it is also frequently prescribed as an anti-fatigue pill for pilots and other individuals in situations requiring vigilance and alertness. Amphetamine is also used illegally to take advantage of these effects.
The term amphetamine causes a certain amount of confusion because it is often used incorrectly. In the general sense, amphetamine can describe other drugs with similar, stimulant effects, namely methamphetamine and methylphenidate. Chemists often use the term "amphetamine class" to describe chemicals that are structurally similar (and often similar in effect as well) to amphetamine - namely, chemicals with an ethyl backbone, terminal phenyl and amine groups, and a methyl group adjacent to the amine. A large number of chemicals fall into this category, including the club drug MDMA (Ecstasy) and methamphetamine. It is important to note that such an "amphetamine class" does not technically exist. In the pharmacodynamic sense, these drugs all fall under the umbrella of central nervous system stimulants; in the chemical sense, they are phenylethylamines. Amphetamine, for example, is methylated phenylethylamine, and methamphetamine is double-methylated phenylethylamine.
Amphetamine traditionally comes in the salt-form amphetamine sulphate and is comprised of 50% l-amphetamine and 50% d-amphetamine (where l- and d- refer to levo and dextro, the two optical orientations the amphetamine structure can have). In the United States, pharmaceutical products containing solely amphetamine (for example, Biphetamine) are no longer manufactured. Today, dextroamphetamine (d-amphetamine) sulphate is the predominant form of the drug used; it consists entirely of d-isomer amphetamine, which acts in a slightly different way on the brain than does l-amphetamine. Attention disorders are often treated using Adderall or generic-equivalent formulations of mixed amphetamine salts that contain both d/l-amphetamine and d-amphetamine in the sulfate and saccharate forms mixed to a final ratio of 3 parts d-amphetamine to 1 part l-amphetamine.
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