Dexedrine Addiction and Treatment



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Dexedrine is the brand name for dextroamphetamine sulfate, manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline. This medication is a respiratory and cerebral stimulant, and a Schedule II controlled substance with a high abuse liability.

Dexedrine (dextroamphetamine sulfate) is the dextro isomer of the compound d,1-amphetamine sulfate, a sympathomimetic amine of the amphetamine group. Chemically, dextroamphetamine is d-a-methylphenethylamine, and is present in all forms of Dexedrine as the neutral sulfate.

Other trade names for dextroamphetamine sulfate include Biphetamine, Adderal, and Dextrostat. Dexedrine street names are bennies, black beauties, crosses, hearts, LA turnaround, speed, truck drivers, and uppers.

Dexedrine is an amphetamine, belonging to the group of medicines called central nervous system (CNS) stimulants. Dexedrine was initially developed in the 1920’s to treat depression and obesity. The use of Dexedrine to control hyperactivity in children has been known since its development but Dexedrine did not receive FDA approval for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) use until the 1950’s.

Dexedrine became very popular in the late 60s and early 70s as a prescription diet aid because of its ability to suppress appetite. Dexedrine was frequently (and illegally) used by college students, either for the stimulant high it provided or to keep them awake while studying.

Amphetamines were first synthesized in Germany in 1887 and for a long time after, appeared to be a drug in search of a disease. By the 1920’s, it was considered a cure or treatment for everything from depression to decongestion. A decade later, it was marketed both as Benzedrine in an over-the-counter inhaler to treat asthmatics, and for nasal congestion. Whether the subsequent amphetamine abuse was fueled by Prohibition or the Depression we will never know, but this cough medicine became widely used by people without asthma, breathing or congestion problems. By 1937, amphetamine tablets became available by prescription.

Dexedrine, a stimulant drug available in tablet or sustained-release capsule (Spansules) form, is prescribed to help treat the following two conditions:

* Narcolepsy (uncontrollable desire for sleep or sudden attacks of deep sleep)
* Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (Dexedrine should only be used in conjunction with a total program including social, psychological, and educational guidance.)

Dexedrine tablets and Spansules are intended to be swallowed whole. Do not chew or crush the sustained-release form, or Spansule.

Dexedrine tablets and Spansules come as either short-acting (usually 4 hours) or long-acting (6-12 hours). The shorter-acting medications effects take place in 20 minutes, while the longer-acting ones may take up to an hour before the effects begin to take place.

If you are taking the tablet form, you may need up to 3 doses a day while you can only take the sustained-release capsules only once a day. Other dangerous ingestion practices include swallowing, snorting, smoking or injecting the dissolved product.

Never increase the amount or frequency without your doctor’s approval, or take this drug for any reason other than the one prescribed.

Amphetamines are a respiratory and cerebral stimulant, causing intense mental and physical stimulation. Resulting intoxication effects include increased heart rate, blood pressure, metabolism; feelings of exhilaration, energy, and increased mental alertness. Because Dexedrine increases wakefulness, often keeping users awake and alert for many hours, various amphetamines have been used by the military, pilots, truck drivers, and other workers to keep functioning past their normal limits.

Dextroamphetamine (dexamphetamine, d-amphetamine) sulfate is a sympathomimetic agent with indirect effects on adrenergic receptors. It has alpha-and beta-adrenergic activity. It has actions qualitatively similar to those of amphetamine sulfate but is approximately twice as potent. It has a marked stimulant effect on the central nervous system (CNS), particularly the cerebral cortex and the respiratory and vasomotor centers.

Side Effects:
Side effects associated with Dexedrine use are: addiction, agitation/irritability, insomnia, dry mouth, headache, nausea, anorexia, weight loss, hallucinations, liver irritation/toxicity, heart palpitations, tics, Tourette’s syndrome, sexual difficulties, tremors, behavior disturbances, and thought disorder, elevation of blood pressure, hives, over stimulation, restlessness, dizziness, euphoria, headache, exacerbation of motor skills, diarrhea, and constipation.

If you experience any of the following symptoms contact your doctor immediately: loss of coordination; delirium, panic, paranoia, impulsive behavior, aggressiveness, tolerance, addiction, and psychosis.

If you habitually take Dexedrine in doses higher than recommended, or if you take it over a long period of time, you may eventually become dependent on the drug and suffer from withdrawal symptoms if you abruptly stop it.

Excessive Dexedrine use may lead to hyperactivity, irritability, personality changes, schizophrenia-like thoughts and behavior, severe insomnia, and severe skin disease.

The potential health consequences of excessive use include rapid or irregular heart beat; reduced appetite, weight loss, heart failure, nervousness, and insomnia.

Cautionary Notes:
As a stimulant, this drug has high abuse potential. After the stimulant effect wears off, a period of depression and fatigue typically follows. If this letdown is treated with another dose, this soon becomes a vicious circle.

If Dexedrine is taken with certain foods or drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered. It is especially important to check with your doctor before combining Dexedrine with the following:

Ammonium chloride
Chlorpromazine (Thorazine)
Fruit juices
Glutamic acid hydrochloride
Haloperidol (Haldol)
Lithium carbonate (Eskalith)
Methenamine (Urised)
Sodium acid phosphate
Vitamin C (as ascorbic acid)
Antihistamines such as Benadryl
Blood pressure medications such as Catapres, Hytrin, and Minipress
Ethosuximide (Zarontin)
Veratrum alkaloids (found in certain blood pressure drugs)

The following substances can either increase the effects of Dexedrine or increase the medication’s effect when taken with Dexedrine:

Acetazolamide (Diamox)
MAO inhibitors such as Nardil and Parnate
Propoxyphene (Darvon)
Sodium bicarbonate (baking soda)
Thiazide diuretics such as Diuril
Antidepressants such as Norpramin
Meperidine (Demerol)
Norepinephrine (Levophed)
Phenytoin (Dilantin)

Do Not Take Dexedrine if:

* you are sensitive to or have ever had an allergic reaction to it.
* you have taken a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAO inhibitor) such as the antidepressants Nardil and Parnate within the last 14 days. Dexedrine and MAO inhibitors may interact to cause a potentially life-threatening rise in blood pressure.

Do not take Dexedrine if you suffer from any of the following conditions:

* Agitation
* Cardiovascular disease
* Glaucoma
* Hardening of the arteries
* High blood pressure
* Overactive thyroid gland
* Substance abuse

Special warnings about Dexedrine:

* Dexedrine should be used with caution if you have mild high blood pressure.
* Dexedrine may affect your ability to perform potentially hazardous activities, such as operating machinery or driving a car.
* Do not take dextroamphetamine in the evening because it may cause insomnia.
* Dexedrine should not be used to combat fatigue or to replace rest.

Chronic amphetamine intoxication may present with severe dermatoses, marked insomnia, irritability, hyperactivity, and personality changes. The most severe manifestation of chronic intoxication is psychosis, often clinically indistinguishable from schizophrenia.

The possibility of tolerance and psychological dependence, particularly with excessive use, should be considered. If psychological dependence occurs, the medication should be discontinued. Abrupt cessation following prolonged high dosage administration may result in extreme fatigue and mental depression. A slower, physician supervised taper off the drug is highly recommended.

Signs of amphetamine dependency are:

· A strong desire or need to continue taking the medicine.
· A need to increase the dose to maintain the effects of the medicine.
· Withdrawal syndrome occurring after the medicine is stopped.

Stimulant drugs such as Dexedrine can quickly induce “tolerance.” Tolerance is a diminished response to a drug that develops over days, weeks, or months. It is the effect of cellular adaptive changes or enhanced drug metabolism from extended use of a medication.

If you abuse Dexedrine, you will likely find that the dose that had worked is suddenly inadequate, necessitating a higher dose. If you increase the dose, you will soon become tolerant to the higher dose, leading to a vicious circle and addiction.

It is important that your physician help you discontinue this medication in a careful and safe manner to avoid severe withdrawal.

The length and severity of Dexedrine withdrawal is related to how much and how often the drug was used. Generally speaking, you may experience withdrawal symptoms if you stop taking it suddenly after several weeks of continuous use. The most pronounced withdrawal symptoms from Dexedrine are depression and extreme fatigue.

Consult with your doctor about stopping this medication gradually.

Obviously, the severity of withdrawal symptoms experienced is directly related to the amount of Dexedrine taken and the length of time over which it has been taken.

Withdrawal symptoms can occur when the use of amphetamines is stopped abruptly. Users may experience fatigue, craving, exhaustion, confusion, psychotic reaction, anxiety reactions, long, disturbed periods of sleep, irritability, intense hunger, and moderate to severe depression.

Long term Dexedrine users should taper off the medication slowly under a knowledgeable physician’s care, or, enter a detox center for 24/7 treatment. With a moderate to severe addiction from relatively long term use, an in patient detox in a hospital or medical supervised setting is highly recommended for its multi- disciplinary approach. Dependence resulting from even a few weeks of regular use can usually be handled under a physician’s supervision with minimal discomfort. Treatment will ultimately depend on the degree of addiction.

However a person chooses to free themselves from the clutches of a drug, there is one constant each needs: Support. Narcotics Anonymous remains a successful choice for many addicts, with world-wide availability. The “information age” has produced numerous on line support forums, popular with many recovering addicts, useful to some addicts as their sole means of support and for others, as adjunct therapy. Drug addiction is treatable, with help out there for everyone.

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