Cambridge Encyclopedia » Cambridge Encyclopedia Vol. 5

amphetamine - History, Toxicity, Chemistry, Pharmacology, Application range, Medicinal use, Effects of use, Addiction, Legal issues

available alertness name tolerance

A powerful stimulant of the central nervous system, which causes wakefulness and alertness, elevates mood, increases self-confidence, loquaciousness, and the performance of simple mental tasks, and improves physical performance. Initially, it decreases appetite. It is widely abused to increase energy and alertness, but tolerance often develops after repeated use. Its effects are followed by mental depression and fatigue. It was once used clinically as a slimming aid, but therapeutic use is now restricted to the treatment of narcolepsy because of the problems of addiction and tolerance. It is also used to treat children with attention-deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Prolonged use may result in paranoia or clinical psychosis. As a drug of abuse it is called speed; it is illegally manufactured as a powder which can be sniffed (‘snorted’) or injected. Amphetamine sulphate was formerly available medically under the trade name Benzedrine. It is now available only as dexamphetamine sulphate, an isomer, under the proprietary name Dexedrine.

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