Synonyms Amphetamine
Brand names Adderall, Benzedrine
IUPAC name

IUPAC name






PDB fields




(Jmol 3D structure)
Mol. mass

135.2062 g/mol

Amfetamine is the most common drug of abuse among American university students due to its positive effects on attention, memory, wakefulness, etc. Amongst this population Adderall (which is mixed amfetamine salts, containing 75% dexamfetamine and 25% levamfetamine, used in the U.S. to treat ADHD; not available in Australia or the U.K. for therapeutic use) is the most popularly abused and is used by roughly three-quarters (75%) of illicit stimulant drug-using university students in the U.S., the remaining quarter (25%) use methylphenidate.[1] They have also been used by militaries in order to keep their troops alert during long-term deployment exercises.

Amfetamines are known to cause euphoria, increased alertness and concentration, palpitations, tremor, diaphoresis (excessive sweating), tremor and mydriasis (dilated pupils).[2][3][4][5][6][7][8] Levamfetamine produces weaker effects on the brain but has a greater effect on heart rate and blood pressure. Dexamfetamine abuse is known to cause the following health problems (usually only in overdose, however, but usual recreational doses can too):[8]

  • Haemorrhagic stroke (a stroke that occurs in conjunction to a brain bleed)
  • Hypertension
  • Chest pain
  • Heart rhythm irregularities
  • Aggression
  • Paranoia
  • Seizures
  • Muscle rigidity
  • High body temperature (>40℃)
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Myocardial infarction
  • Rhabdomyolysis
  • Leukaemoid reactions (an abnormally high number of white blood cells in the blood)
  • Disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC; basically disseminated [i.e. it occurs all over the body] blood clots followed by severe bleeds).

They are usually taken via the oral, intravenous or intranasal (i.e., snorting it) routes.


Amfetamine sulfate is the most common street form of the drug that is white or off-white. The half-life of oral dexamfetamine is 7-24 hours, depending on urinary pH. It is chiefly excreted in the urine. Levamfetamine has a half-life of about 11-13 hours when taken in the form of Adderall. The amfetamines take about 1-1.5 hours to initially produce their effects.[6][9]


Amfetamine racemate
300px Dexamfetamine
300px Levamfetamine

External linksEdit

Reference listEdit

  1. Teter, CJ; McCabe, SE; LaGrange, K; Cranford, JA; Boyd, CJ (October 2006). "Illicit use of specific prescription stimulants among college students: prevalence, motives, and routes of administration.". Pharmacotherapy 26 (10): 1501–10. PMC 1794223. PMID 16999660. doi:10.1592/phco.26.10.1501. 
  2. Heal, DJ; Smith, SL; Gosden, J; Nutt, DJ (June 2013). "Amphetamine, past and present--a pharmacological and clinical perspective.". Journal of Psychopharmacology 27 (6): 479–96. doi:10.1177/0269881113482532. PMC 3666194. PMID 23539642.
  3. Ciccarone, D (March 2011). "Stimulant abuse: pharmacology, cocaine, methamphetamine, treatment, attempts at pharmacotherapy.". Primary Care 38 (1): 41–58, v–vi. doi:10.1016/j.pop.2010.11.004. PMC 3056348. PMID 21356420.
  4. "Methamphetamine". PubChem. National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine. Retrieved 2 June 2014.
  5. O'Connor, PG, ed. (December 2013). "Amphetamines: Drug Use and Dependence". Merck Manual Professional. Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp. Retrieved 5 June 2014.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Brayfield, A, ed. (12 December 2013). "Dexamfetamine Sulfate". Martindale: The Complete Drug Reference. London, UK: Pharmaceutical Press. Retrieved 5 June 2014.
  7. Eccles, R (January 2007). "Substitution of phenylephrine for pseudoephedrine as a nasal decongeststant. An illogical way to control methamphetamine abuse.". British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology 63 (1): 10–4. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2125.2006.02833.x. PMC 2000711. PMID 17116124.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Yamamoto, BK; Moszczynska, A; Gudelsky, GA (February 2010). "Amphetamine toxicities: classical and emerging mechanisms.". Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 1187: 101–21. doi:10.1111/j.1749-6632.2009.05141.x. PMC 3955986. PMID 20201848.
  9. Brayfield, A, ed. (13 December 2013). "Amfetamine". Martindale: The Complete Drug Reference. London, UK: Pharmaceutical Press. Retrieved 5 June 2014.