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Amphetamines

  • By: Jeremy Matuszak & Meena Rajendren
  • In: Encyclopedia of Drug Policy
  • Edited by: Mark A. R. Kleiman & James E. Hawdon
  • Subject:Public Policy, Drug Crimes

Amphetamines (and amphetamine-like substances) are also known as analeptics, sympathomimetics, and psychostimulants. Amphetamine salts, including dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine), methamphetamine (Desoxyn), lisdexamfetamine (Vyvanse), dextroamphetamine mixed-salts (Adderall), and methylphenidate (Ritalin) are commonly prescribed (and abused) medications. Current U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) indications for their use include attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. However, they are also prescribed off-label for weight loss (with the exception of dextroamphetamine) and the augmentation of antidepressants. Given their high abuse potential, these medications are classified as Schedule II (high potential for abuse, but known to have a legitimate medical benefit).

Amphetamines and amphetamine-like substances work via the release of two neurotransmitters from the nerve terminal: norepinephrine and dopamine. It is through the release of these neurotransmitters that we get therapeutic ...

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