What is amphetamine/methamphetamine?

  • Methamphetamine is a central nervous system stimulant1
  • It can be injected intravenously, snorted, smoked, or taken orally1
  • Physicians may also prescribe it in low doses for the treatment of attention deficit disorders or narcolepsy1
  • Amphetamines function by increasing the release of certain neurotransmitters including norepinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin2
  • Use of amphetamines result in increased alertness, euphoria, exhilaration, and increased inhibition2
  • Methamphetamines are a more potent form of amphetamines3
  • Effects of methamphetamine include euphoria, increased wakefulness, and increased energy3

What are the medical consequences of amphetamine/methamphetamine use?

  • Cardiac effects
         Cardiac arrhythmias2, 3
         Hypertension2, 3
  • Insomnia2, 3
  • Seizures2, 3
  • Hyperthermia2, 3
  • Neurological effects
  • Visual and auditory hallucinationsisual and auditory hallucinations3
  • Mental health issues
         Mood disturbance
  • Decreased appetite4
  • Dental problems4

What are the medical consequences of amphetamine/methamphetamine use in pregnancy?

  • Placental abruption2
  • Preterm birth2
  • Decreased birth weight and size2
  • Cardiac anomalies4, 5
  • Cleft lip and/or palate4, 5
  • Biliary atresia4, 5
  • Cerebral hemorrhage in neonate4, 5
  • Increased risk of neonatal death6
  • Increased risk of developmental disorders in childhood like ADHD and oppositional defiance disorder7

  1. Office of National Drug Control Policy.  Street Terms: Drug and Drug Trade.  Retrieved November 15, 2010 from 
  2. Lindsay, M.K. and Burnett, E. (2013). The use of narcotic and street drugs during pregnancy. Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology 56. 133-141.
  3. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (2011).  ACOG Committee Opinion 479: Methamphetamine Abuse in Women of Reproductive Age.  Washington, DC: American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. 
  4. Drug Facts: Methamphetamine.  Retrieved January 15, 2014 from The National Institute on Drug Abuse Web site:
  5. Kuczkowski, K.M (2007).  The Effects of Drug Abuse on Pregnancy [Electronic Version].  Curr Opin Obstet Gynecol, 19, 578-585.
  6. Good, M.M. et al (2010).  Methamphetamine Use During Pregnancy: Maternal and Neonatal Implications [Electronic Version]. Obstetrics and Gynecology, 116:2:1, 330-334
  7. Lester, B.M., LaGasse, L.L (2010). Children of Addicted Women [Electronic Version]. Journal of Addictive Diseases, 29, 259-276. 

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January, 2014