LATEST NEWS AND FACTS ABOUT MEDICINES YOU TAKE

“Amphetamine, as with cocaine, can induce symptoms similar to those seen in obsessive disorder, panic disorder, and phobic disorders.”

ABOVE: Kaplan and Sadock's Synopsis of Psychiatry (2007) citing American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

Dexedrine (dextroamphetamine) is a powerful drug known to produce increased wakefulness and focus, decreased fatigue and decreased appetite. The psychiatric drug is also known to have a high potential for severe dependence.

Dexedrine Side Effects and Warnings

Schedule II Substance

  • Brand Names: DEXEDRINE, DEXEDRINE SR, and DEXEDRINE SPANSULE
  • Generic Name: dextroamphetamine sulfate
  • Category: CEREBRAL STIMULANTS
Drug Enforcement Administration, Department Of Justice: Schedule II Controlled Substance

FDA “Black Box” Warning Label

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires the following "black box" warning on all amphetamines, including Dexedrine, which means that medical studies indicate these drugs carry a significant risk of serious, or even life-threatening, adverse effects.

WARNING

AMPHETAMINES HAVE A HIGH POTENTIAL FOR ABUSE. ADMINISTRATION OF AMPHETAMINES FOR PROLONGED PERIODS OF TIME MAY LEAD TO DRUG DEPENDENCE AND MUST BE AVOIDED. PARTICULAR ATTENTION SHOULD BE PAID TO THE POSSIBILITY OF SUBJECTS OBTAINING AMPHETAMINES FOR NON-THERAPEUTIC USE OR DISTRIBUTION TO OTHERS, AND THE DRUGS SHOULD BE PRESCRIBED OR DISPENSED SPARINGLY.

MISUSE MAY CAUSE SUDDEN DEATH AND SERIOUS CARDIOVASCULAR ADVERSE EVENTS.

ABOVE: FDA black box warning label means that medical studies indicate the drug carries a significant risk of serious or even life-threatening adverse effects. The bold warning label appears on the manufacturer's wholesale packaging and is the strongest alert the FDA can require of drug-makers.

Description

Dexedrine (dextroamphetamine) is an amphetamine drug.

Used For

  • Attention deficit disorder with hyperactivity
  • Obesity
  • Narcolepsy

How Dexedrine Works

When we are stressed or under threat, the central nervous system prepares us for physical action by creating particular physiological changes. Amphetamines prompt the brain to initiate this 'fight or flight' response. These changes include:

  • The release of adrenalin and other stress hormones
  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure
  • Redirected blood flow into the muscles and away from the gut

In small doses amphetamines can banish tiredness and make the user feel alert and refreshed. However, the burst of energy comes at a price: A "speed crash" always follows the high and may leave the person feeling nauseous, irritable, depressed and extremely exhausted.

Do Not Use If

You have not tried other psychotherapy, have high blood pressure or any form of heart disease, are very nervous or have severe insomnia, have a history of addiction to drugs or alcohol, or have Tourette syndrome. Do not combine with monoamine oxidase inhibitors.

Dextroamphetamine is not recommended for use as an anorectic (suppressing or causing loss of appetite) agent in children under 12 years of age.

Tolerance Warning

Tolerance to the anorectic (suppressing or causing loss of appetite) effect usually develops within a few weeks. When this occurs, the recommended dose should not be exceeded in an attempt to increase the effect; rather, the drug should be discontinued (see DEPENDENCE, TOLERANCE AND WITHDRAWAL).

Common Side Effects

  • Dry Mouth
  • Loss of appetite
  • Headache
  • Difficulty falling asleep (insomnia)
  • Nervousness including agitation, anxiety and irritability
  • Addiction

Less Common Side Effects

  • High blood pressure
  • Rapid pulse rate
  • Tolerance (constant need to raise the dose)
  • Feelings of suspicion and paranoia
  • Visual hallucinations (seeing things that are not there)
  • Depression
  • Cocaine craving
  • Dermatoses (infected or diseased skin)
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Infection or viral infection
  • Elevated ALT enzyme levels in the blood (signaling liver damage)

Overdose Side Effects

Dextroamphetamine has been extensively abused. Extreme psychological dependence and severe social disability have resulted. Abuse of amphetamines may cause a sudden heart attack even in those with no signs of heart disease. Symptoms of overdose that require immediate medical assistance include:

  • Restlessness
  • Tremor
  • Aggression
  • Hallucinations
  • Panic states
  • Hyperreflexia (overactive reflexes, which can include twitching or spasms)
  • Personality changes
  • Symptoms of depression
  • Seizures or abnormal EEGs
  • High blood pressure
  • Rapid heart beat
  • Swelling of hands/feet/ankles (for example, numbing of the fingertips)
  • Delusions
  • Sweating
  • Vomiting
  • Dehydration
  • Unexplained muscle pain
  • Lower abdominal pain
  • Rhabdomyolysis and kidney damage
  • Chronic abuse can manifest itself as psychosis, often indistinguishable from schizophrenia

Amphetamine-Induced Anxiety Disorder

The onset of amphetamine-induced anxiety disorder can occur during amphetamine use or withdrawal, according to best-selling psychiatry text, Kaplan and Sadock's Synopsis of Psychiatry citing American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

"Amphetamine, as with cocaine, can induce symptoms similar to those seen in obsessive disorder, panic disorder, and phobic disorders," states Synopsis of Psychiatry.

Amphetamine-Induced Psychosis

Induction of schizophrenic-like states in children on prescribed doses of stimulant medications, including amphetamines, have been observed, though not as well documented as with amphetamine abusers, according to The Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine.

Amphetamine-Induced Sexual Dysfunction

Referring again to American Psychiatric Association's Manual of Mental Disorders, Synopsis of Psychiatry states: "High doses and long-term use of amphetamines are associated with erectile disorder and other sexual dysfunctions."

Dependence, Tolerance and Withdrawal

Amphetamine drugs have been extensively abused. Tolerance, extreme psychological dependance, and severe social disability have occurred. There are reports of patients who have increased the dosage to many times that recommended. Abrupt cessation following prolonged high dosage administration results in extreme fatigue and mental depression; changes are also noted on the sleep EEG. Manifestations of chronic intoxication with methamphetamine include severe dermatoses [skin disease], marked insomnia, irritability, hyperactivity, and personality changes. The most severe manifestation of chronic intoxication is psychosis often clinically indistinguishable from schizophrenia.

Tolerance means the person using the drug needs to take larger doses to achieve the same effect. Over time, the body might come to depend on amphetamines just to function normally. The person craves the drug and their psychological dependence makes them panic if access is denied, even temporarily.

Withdrawal symptoms can include tiredness, panic attacks, crankiness, extreme hunger, depression and nightmares. Some people experience a pattern of "binge crash" characterized by using continuously for several days without sleep, followed by a period of heavy sleeping.

If It Doesn't Work

The drug should be stopped gradually. Withdrawal symptoms are psychological and stopping suddenly can cause extreme fatigue and severe, even suicidal, depression in adult patients.

Abrupt cessation of amphetamines can cause extreme fatigue and severe, even suicidal, depression in adult patients.

ABOVE: The Essential Guide to Psychiatric Drugs—Rev. and updated (2007).

The effects of amphetamines and methamphetamine are similar to cocaine, but their onset is slower and their duration is longer.—U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) fact sheet

ABOVE: Drug Enforcement Administration, US Department of Justice. “Drug Fact Sheet: Amphetamines,” undated, retrieved January 5, 2013: www.justice.gov/dea/druginfo/drug_data_sheets/Amphetamines.pdf.

If It Does Work

“In the treatment of ADHD for children and young adults, [amphetamine] is now prescribed frequently, often as a first-line drug. This is, in my opinion, a very serious mistake,” states Jack M. Gorman, M.D., professor of psychiatry at Columbia University and deputy director of the New York State Psychiatric Institute. Amphetamine “is now abused throughout college campuses, where it is bought, sold, stolen, borrowed, snorted and injected. It is a very powerful drug that undoubtedly works for ADHD, but there are alternatives with less abuse potential that should be tried first.”

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What do Amphetamines Include?

BRAND NAME GENERIC NAME
Adderall amphetamine plus dextroamphetamine
[instant release]
Adderall XR amphetamine plus dextroamphetamine
[extended release]
Benzedrine amphetamine
[instant release]
Biphetamine amphetamine plus dextroamphetamine
Desoxyn methamphetamine
[instant release]
Dexedrine dextroamphetamine
[instant release]
Dexedrine SR dextroamphetamine
[extended release]
Dexedrine Spansule dextroamphetamine
[extended release]
Dextrostat dextroamphetamine
[instant release]
ProCentra dextroamphetamine
[immediate release, bubblegum flavor]
Vyvanse dextroamphetamine
with lysine (lisdexamfetamine)
[extended release]
  • ALTERNATE NAMES:
  • amphetamine = amfetamine = dl-amphetamine
  • dextroamphetamine = dexamfetamine
    = dexamphetamine = d-amphetamine
  • methamphetamine = d-methamphetamine

All amphetamines have essentially the same chemical properties and actions, states a 2005 published report by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). Amphetamine, dextroamphetamine and methamphetamine are so alike, according to the DEA report, that even experienced users may not feel a difference between them.

ABOVE: Drug Enforcement Administration, US Department of Justice. “Amphetamines,” Drugs of Abuse Publication. National Drug Intelligence Center, 2005 ed. www.usdoj.gov/dea/pubs/abuse.

What is Your Adderall IQ?

Amphetamine Advantage or Dangerous Delusion?

Like athletes who use steroids, students who use Adderall to enhance academic performance are in many ways victims. [More]

What is the most important information I should know about DEXEDRINE?

The following have been reported with use of DEXEDRINE and other stimulant medicines.

1. Heart-related problems:

  • sudden death in patients who have heart problems or heart defects
  • stroke and heart attack in adults
  • increased blood pressure and heart rate

Tell your doctor if you or your child have any heart problems, heart defects, high blood pressure, or a family history of these problems.

Your doctor should check you or your child carefully for heart problems before starting DEXEDRINE.

Your doctor should check your or your child's blood pressure and heart rate regularly during treatment with DEXEDRINE.

Call your doctor right away if you or your child has any signs of heart problems such as chest pain, shortness of breath, or fainting while taking DEXEDRINE.

2. Mental (Psychiatric) problems:

All Patients

  • new or worse behavior and thought problems
  • new or worse bipolar illness
  • new or worse aggressive behavior or hostility

Children and Teenagers

  • new psychotic symptoms (such as hearing voices, believing things that are not true, are suspicious) or new manic symptoms

Tell your doctor about any mental problems you or your child have, or about a family history of suicide, bipolar illness, or depression.

Call your doctor right away if you or your child have any new or worsening mental symptoms or problems while taking DEXEDRINE, especially seeing or hearing things that are not real, believing things that are not real, or are suspicious.

ProCentra: Liquid “Dexedrine”

ProCentra is a new name for what used to be a popular diet drug, Dexedrine. Now sold for children in bubblegum-flavored liquid and advertised as “easier to swallow.” [More]

Vyvanse is a “Pro-Drug”

Although Vyvanse is referred to as “pro-drug” of dextroamphetamine, it is still an amphetamine, meaning that it is easily abused and can cause insomnia, agitation, anxiety and sometimes psychotic symptoms like seeing things or becoming paranoid. The difference between Vyvanse and Adderall is that Vyvanse will work only if it is swallowed so that drug abusers will not be able to snort it or inject it. It is hoped this will limit abuse of Vyvanse. [More]

How Safe is Ritalin?

Many think methylphenidate (Ritalin) is safe, or mild, because so many children use it. However, the government classifies the psychoactive drug with cocaine and morphine because it is highly addictive. [More]

20 Deaths Linked to Adderall XR

The deaths were not associated with overdose, misuse or abuse of Adderall XR, Canadian regulators said. [More]

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