|amphetamine aspartate monohydrate||25% – stimulant
(12.5% levo; 12.5% dextro)
|amphetamine sulfate||25% – stimulant
(12.5% levo; 12.5% dextro)
|dextroamphetamine saccharate||25% – stimulant
(0% levo; 25% dextro)
|dextroamphetamine sulfate||25% – stimulant
(0% levo; 25% dextro)
|Trade names||Adderall, Adderall XR|
|Oral, insufflation, rectal, sublingual|
Adderall[note 1] is a combination drug containing salts of the two enantiomers of amphetamine, a central nervous system (CNS) stimulant of the phenethylamine class. Adderall is used in the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. It is also used as an athletic performance enhancer and cognitive enhancer, and recreationally as an aphrodisiac and euphoriant. By salt content, the active ingredients of Adderall are 25% levoamphetamine salts (the levorotary or 'left-handed' enantiomer) and 75% dextroamphetamine salts (the dextrorotary or 'right-handed' enantiomer).[note 2][sources 1]
Adderall is generally well-tolerated and effective in treating the symptoms of ADHD and narcolepsy. At therapeutic doses, Adderall causes emotional and cognitive effects such as euphoria, change in desire for sex, increased wakefulness, and improved cognitive control. At these doses, it induces physical effects such as decreased reaction time, fatigue resistance, and increased muscle strength. In contrast, much larger doses of Adderall can impair cognitive control, cause rapid muscle breakdown, or induce a psychosis (e.g., delusions and paranoia). The side effects of Adderall vary widely among individuals, but most commonly include insomnia, dry mouth, and loss of appetite. The risk of developing an addiction is insignificant when Adderall is used as prescribed at fairly low daily doses, such as those used for treating ADHD; however, the routine use of Adderall in larger daily doses poses a significant risk of addiction due to the pronounced reinforcing effects that are present at higher doses. Recreational doses of Adderall are generally much larger than prescribed therapeutic doses, and carry a far greater risk of serious adverse effects.[sources 2]
The two amphetamine enantiomers that compose Adderall (i.e., levoamphetamine and dextroamphetamine) alleviate the symptoms of ADHD and narcolepsy by increasing the activity of the neurotransmitters norepinephrine and dopamine in the brain, which results from their interactions with trace amine associated receptor 1 (TAAR1) and vesicular monoamine transporter 2 (VMAT2) in neurons. Dextroamphetamine is a more potent CNS stimulant than levoamphetamine, but levoamphetamine has slightly stronger cardiovascular and peripheral effects and a longer elimination half-life (i.e., it remains in the body longer) than dextroamphetamine. The levoamphetamine component of Adderall has been reported to improve the treatment response in some individuals relative to dextroamphetamine alone. Adderall's active ingredient, amphetamine, shares many chemical and pharmacological properties with the human trace amines, particularly phenethylamine and N-methylphenethylamine, the latter of which is a positional isomer of amphetamine.[sources 3]
- 1 Uses
- 2 Contraindications
- 3 Side effects
- 4 Overdose
- 5 Interactions
- 6 Pharmacology
- 7 History, society, and culture
- 8 See also
- 9 Notes
- 10 Reference notes
- 11 References
Adderall is used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy (a sleep disorder). Long-term amphetamine exposure at sufficiently high doses in some animal species is known to produce abnormal dopamine system development or nerve damage, but, in humans with ADHD, pharmaceutical amphetamines appear to improve brain development and nerve growth. Reviews of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) studies suggest that long-term treatment with amphetamine decreases abnormalities in brain structure and function found in subjects with ADHD, and improves function in several parts of the brain, such as the right caudate nucleus of the basal ganglia.
Reviews of clinical stimulant research have established the safety and effectiveness of long-term continuous amphetamine use for the treatment of ADHD. Randomized controlled trials of continuous stimulant therapy for the treatment of ADHD spanning two years have demonstrated treatment effectiveness and safety. Two reviews have indicated that long-term continuous stimulant therapy for ADHD is effective for reducing the core symptoms of ADHD (i.e., hyperactivity, inattention, and impulsivity), enhancing quality of life and academic achievement, and producing improvements in a large number of functional outcomes[note 3] across nine outcome categories related to academics, antisocial behavior, driving, non-medicinal drug use, obesity, occupation, self-esteem, service use (i.e., academic, occupational, health, financial, and legal services), and social function. One review highlighted a nine-month randomized controlled trial in children with ADHD that found an average increase of 4.5 IQ points, continued increases in attention, and continued decreases in disruptive behaviors and hyperactivity. Another review indicated that, based upon the longest follow-up studies conducted to date, lifetime stimulant therapy that begins during childhood is continuously effective for controlling ADHD symptoms and reduces the risk of developing a substance use disorder as an adult.
Current models of ADHD suggest that it is associated with functional impairments in some of the brain's neurotransmitter systems; these functional impairments involve impaired dopamine neurotransmission in the mesocorticolimbic projection and norepinephrine neurotransmission in the noradrenergic projections from the locus coeruleus to the prefrontal cortex. Psychostimulants like methylphenidate and amphetamine are effective in treating ADHD because they increase neurotransmitter activity in these systems. Approximately 80% of those who use these stimulants see improvements in ADHD symptoms. Children with ADHD who use stimulant medications generally have better relationships with peers and family members, perform better in school, are less distractible and impulsive, and have longer attention spans. The Cochrane Collaboration's reviews[note 4] on the treatment of ADHD in children, adolescents, and adults with pharmaceutical amphetamines stated that while these drugs improve short-term symptoms, they have higher discontinuation rates than non-stimulant medications due to their adverse side effects. A Cochrane Collaboration review on the treatment of ADHD in children with tic disorders such as Tourette syndrome indicated that stimulants in general do not make tics worse, but high doses of dextroamphetamine could exacerbate tics in some individuals.
Adderall is available as immediate release tablets or extended-release capsules. The extended release capsule is generally used in the morning. The extended release formulation available under the brand Adderall XR is designed to provide a therapeutic effect and plasma concentrations identical to taking two doses 4 hours apart. In the United States, the immediate and extended release formulations of Adderall are both available as generic drugs.
In 2015, a systematic review and a meta-analysis of high quality clinical trials found that, when used at low (therapeutic) doses, amphetamine produces modest yet unambiguous improvements in cognition, including working memory, long-term episodic memory, inhibitory control, and some aspects of attention, in normal healthy adults; these cognition-enhancing effects of amphetamine are known to be partially mediated through the indirect activation of both dopamine receptor D1 and adrenoceptor α2 in the prefrontal cortex. A systematic review from 2014 found that low doses of amphetamine also improve memory consolidation, in turn leading to improved recall of information. Therapeutic doses of amphetamine also enhance cortical network efficiency, an effect which mediates improvements in working memory in all individuals. Amphetamine and other ADHD stimulants also improve task saliency (motivation to perform a task) and increase arousal (wakefulness), in turn promoting goal-directed behavior. Stimulants such as amphetamine can improve performance on difficult and boring tasks and are used by some students as a study and test-taking aid. Based upon studies of self-reported illicit stimulant use, 5–35% of college students use diverted ADHD stimulants, which are primarily used for performance enhancement rather than as recreational drugs. However, high amphetamine doses that are above the therapeutic range can interfere with working memory and other aspects of cognitive control.
Amphetamine is used by some athletes for its psychological and athletic performance-enhancing effects, such as increased endurance and alertness; however, non-medical amphetamine use is prohibited at sporting events that are regulated by collegiate, national, and international anti-doping agencies. In healthy people at oral therapeutic doses, amphetamine has been shown to increase muscle strength, acceleration, athletic performance in anaerobic conditions, and endurance (i.e., it delays the onset of fatigue), while improving reaction time. Amphetamine improves endurance and reaction time primarily through reuptake inhibition and effluxion of dopamine in the central nervous system. Amphetamine and other dopaminergic drugs also increase power output at fixed levels of perceived exertion by overriding a "safety switch" that allows the core temperature limit to increase in order to access a reserve capacity that is normally off-limits. At therapeutic doses, the adverse effects of amphetamine do not impede athletic performance; however, at much higher doses, amphetamine can induce effects that severely impair performance, such as rapid muscle breakdown and elevated body temperature.
Adderall has been banned in the National Football League (NFL), Major League Baseball (MLB), National Basketball Association (NBA), and the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA). In leagues such as the NFL, there is a very rigorous process required to obtain an exemption to this rule even when the athlete has been medically prescribed the drug by their physician.
Adderall is considered to have a high potential for misuse as a recreational drug. Adderall tablets can be crushed and snorted, or dissolved in water and injected. Injection into the bloodstream can be dangerous because insoluble fillers within the tablets can block small blood vessels.
According to the International Programme on Chemical Safety (IPCS) and United States Food and Drug Administration (USFDA),[note 5] amphetamine is contraindicated in people with a history of drug abuse,[note 6] cardiovascular disease, severe agitation, or severe anxiety. It is also contraindicated in people currently experiencing arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), glaucoma (increased eye pressure), hyperthyroidism (excessive production of thyroid hormone), or moderate to severe hypertension. People who have experienced allergic reactions to other stimulants in the past or who are taking monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) are advised not to take amphetamine, although safe concurrent use of amphetamine and monoamine oxidase inhibitors has been documented. These agencies also state that anyone with anorexia nervosa, bipolar disorder, depression, hypertension, liver or kidney problems, mania, psychosis, Raynaud's phenomenon, seizures, thyroid problems, tics, or Tourette syndrome should monitor their symptoms while taking amphetamine. Evidence from human studies indicates that therapeutic amphetamine use does not cause developmental abnormalities in the fetus or newborns (i.e., it is not a human teratogen), but amphetamine abuse does pose risks to the fetus. Amphetamine has also been shown to pass into breast milk, so the IPCS and USFDA advise mothers to avoid breastfeeding when using it. Due to the potential for reversible growth impairments,[note 7] the USFDA advises monitoring the height and weight of children and adolescents prescribed an amphetamine pharmaceutical.
The side effects of Adderall are many and varied, but the amount of substance consumed is the primary factor in determining the likelihood and severity of side effects. Adderall is currently approved for long-term therapeutic use by the USFDA. Recreational use of Adderall generally involves far larger doses and is therefore significantly more dangerous, involving a much greater risk of serious side effects.
At normal therapeutic doses, the physical side effects of amphetamine vary widely by age and from person to person. Cardiovascular side effects can include hypertension or hypotension from a vasovagal response, Raynaud's phenomenon (reduced blood flow to the hands and feet), and tachycardia (increased heart rate). Sexual side effects in males may include erectile dysfunction, frequent erections, or prolonged erections. Abdominal side effects may include abdominal pain, appetite loss, nausea, and weight loss. Other potential side effects include blurred vision, dry mouth, excessive grinding of the teeth, nosebleed, profuse sweating, rhinitis medicamentosa (drug-induced nasal congestion), reduced seizure threshold, and tics (a type of movement disorder).[sources 4] Dangerous physical side effects are rare at typical pharmaceutical doses.
Amphetamine stimulates the medullary respiratory centers, producing faster and deeper breaths. In a normal person at therapeutic doses, this effect is usually not noticeable, but when respiration is already compromised, it may be evident. Amphetamine also induces contraction in the urinary bladder sphincter, the muscle which controls urination, which can result in difficulty urinating. This effect can be useful in treating bed wetting and loss of bladder control. The effects of amphetamine on the gastrointestinal tract are unpredictable. If intestinal activity is high, amphetamine may reduce gastrointestinal motility (the rate at which content moves through the digestive system); however, amphetamine may increase motility when the smooth muscle of the tract is relaxed. Amphetamine also has a slight analgesic effect and can enhance the pain relieving effects of opioids.
USFDA-commissioned studies from 2011 indicate that in children, young adults, and adults there is no association between serious adverse cardiovascular events (sudden death, heart attack, and stroke) and the medical use of amphetamine or other ADHD stimulants.[sources 5] However, amphetamine pharmaceuticals are contraindicated in individuals with cardiovascular disease.[sources 6]
At normal therapeutic doses, the most common psychological side effects of amphetamine include increased alertness, apprehension, concentration, initiative, self-confidence, and sociability, mood swings (elated mood followed by mildly depressed mood), insomnia or wakefulness, and decreased sense of fatigue. Less common side effects include anxiety, change in libido, grandiosity, irritability, repetitive or obsessive behaviors, and restlessness;[sources 7] these effects depend on the user's personality and current mental state. Amphetamine psychosis (e.g., delusions and paranoia) can occur in heavy users. Although very rare, this psychosis can also occur at therapeutic doses during long-term therapy. According to the USFDA, "there is no systematic evidence" that stimulants produce aggressive behavior or hostility.
Amphetamine has also been shown to produce a conditioned place preference in humans taking therapeutic doses, meaning that individuals acquire a preference for spending time in places where they have previously used amphetamine.
An amphetamine overdose can lead to many different symptoms, but is rarely fatal with appropriate care. The severity of overdose symptoms increases with dosage and decreases with drug tolerance to amphetamine. Tolerant individuals have been known to take as much as 5 grams of amphetamine in a day, which is roughly 100 times the maximum daily therapeutic dose. Symptoms of a moderate and extremely large overdose are listed below; fatal amphetamine poisoning usually also involves convulsions and coma. In 2013, overdose on amphetamine, methamphetamine, and other compounds implicated in an "amphetamine use disorder" resulted in an estimated 3,788 deaths worldwide (3,425–4,145 deaths, 95% confidence).[note 8]
Pathological overactivation of the mesolimbic pathway, a dopamine pathway that connects the ventral tegmental area to the nucleus accumbens, plays a central role in amphetamine addiction. Individuals who frequently overdose on amphetamine during recreational use have a high risk of developing an amphetamine addiction, since repeated overdoses gradually increase the level of accumbal ΔFosB, a "molecular switch" and "master control protein" for addiction. Once nucleus accumbens ΔFosB is sufficiently overexpressed, it begins to increase the severity of addictive behavior (i.e., compulsive drug-seeking) with further increases in its expression. While there are currently no effective drugs for treating amphetamine addiction, regularly engaging in sustained aerobic exercise appears to reduce the risk of developing such an addiction. Sustained aerobic exercise on a regular basis also appears to be an effective treatment for amphetamine addiction;[sources 8] exercise therapy improves clinical treatment outcomes and may be used as a combination therapy with cognitive behavioral therapy, which is currently the best clinical treatment available.
|System||Minor or moderate overdose||Severe overdose[sources 9]|
|Addiction and dependence glossary|
|• addiction – a brain disorder characterized by compulsive engagement in rewarding stimuli despite adverse consequences|
|• addictive behavior – a behavior that is both rewarding and reinforcing|
|• addictive drug – a drug that is both rewarding and reinforcing|
|• dependence – an adaptive state associated with a withdrawal syndrome upon cessation of repeated exposure to a stimulus (e.g., drug intake)|
|• drug sensitization or reverse tolerance – the escalating effect of a drug resulting from repeated administration at a given dose|
|• drug withdrawal – symptoms that occur upon cessation of repeated drug use|
|• physical dependence – dependence that involves persistent physical–somatic withdrawal symptoms (e.g., fatigue and delirium tremens)|
|• psychological dependence – dependence that involves emotional–motivational withdrawal symptoms (e.g., dysphoria and anhedonia)|
|• reinforcing stimuli – stimuli that increase the probability of repeating behaviors paired with them|
|• rewarding stimuli – stimuli that the brain interprets as intrinsically positive and desirable or as something to be approached|
|• sensitization – an amplified response to a stimulus resulting from repeated exposure to it|
|• substance use disorder - a condition in which the use of substances leads to clinically and functionally significant impairment or distress|
|• tolerance – the diminishing effect of a drug resulting from repeated administration at a given dose|
|(edit | history)|
Addiction is a serious risk with heavy recreational amphetamine use but is unlikely to arise from typical long-term medical use at therapeutic doses. Drug tolerance develops rapidly in amphetamine abuse (i.e., a recreational amphetamine overdose), so periods of extended use require increasingly larger doses of the drug in order to achieve the same effect.
Chronic use of amphetamine at excessive doses causes alterations in gene expression in the mesocorticolimbic projection, which arise through transcriptional and epigenetic mechanisms. The most important transcription factors[note 9] that produce these alterations are ΔFosB, cAMP response element binding protein (CREB), and nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB). ΔFosB is the most significant biomolecular mechanism in addiction because the overexpression of ΔFosB in the D1-type medium spiny neurons in the nucleus accumbens is necessary and sufficient[note 10] for many of the neural adaptations and behavioral effects (e.g., expression-dependent increases in drug self-administration and reward sensitization) seen in drug addiction. Once ΔFosB is sufficiently overexpressed, it induces an addictive state that becomes increasingly more severe with further increases in ΔFosB expression. It has been implicated in addictions to alcohol, cannabinoids, cocaine, methylphenidate, nicotine, opioids, phencyclidine, propofol, and substituted amphetamines, among others.[sources 10]
ΔJunD, a transcription factor, and G9a, a histone methyltransferase enzyme, both oppose the function of ΔFosB and inhibit increases in its expression. Sufficiently overexpressing ΔJunD in the nucleus accumbens with viral vectors can completely block many of the neural and behavioral alterations seen in chronic drug abuse (i.e., the alterations mediated by ΔFosB). ΔFosB also plays an important role in regulating behavioral responses to natural rewards, such as palatable food, sex, and exercise. Since both natural rewards and addictive drugs induce expression of ΔFosB (i.e., they cause the brain to produce more of it), chronic acquisition of these rewards can result in a similar pathological state of addiction. Consequently, ΔFosB is the most significant factor involved in both amphetamine addiction and amphetamine-induced sex addictions, which are compulsive sexual behaviors that result from excessive sexual activity and amphetamine use. These sex addictions are associated with a dopamine dysregulation syndrome which occurs in some patients taking dopaminergic drugs.
The effects of amphetamine on gene regulation are both dose- and route-dependent. Most of the research on gene regulation and addiction is based upon animal studies with intravenous amphetamine administration at very high doses. The few studies that have used equivalent (weight-adjusted) human therapeutic doses and oral administration show that these changes, if they occur, are relatively minor. This suggests that medical use of amphetamine does not significantly affect gene regulation.
As of May 2014,[update] there is no effective pharmacotherapy for amphetamine addiction. Reviews from 2015 and 2016 indicated that TAAR1-selective agonists have significant therapeutic potential as a treatment for psychostimulant addictions; however, as of February 2016,[update] the only compounds which are known to function as TAAR1-selective agonists are experimental drugs. Amphetamine addiction is largely mediated through increased activation of dopamine receptors and co-localized NMDA receptors[note 11] in the nucleus accumbens; magnesium ions inhibit NMDA receptors by blocking the receptor calcium channel. One review suggested that, based upon animal testing, pathological (addiction-inducing) psychostimulant use significantly reduces the level of intracellular magnesium throughout the brain. Supplemental magnesium[note 12] treatment has been shown to reduce amphetamine self-administration (i.e., doses given to oneself) in humans, but it is not an effective monotherapy for amphetamine addiction.
Cognitive behavioral therapy is currently the most effective clinical treatment for psychostimulant addictions. Additionally, research on the neurobiological effects of physical exercise suggests that daily aerobic exercise, especially endurance exercise (e.g., marathon running), prevents the development of drug addiction and is an effective adjunct therapy (i.e., a supplemental treatment) for amphetamine addiction.[sources 8] Exercise leads to better treatment outcomes when used as an adjunct treatment, particularly for psychostimulant addictions. In particular, aerobic exercise decreases psychostimulant self-administration, reduces the reinstatement (i.e., relapse) of drug-seeking, and induces increased dopamine receptor D2 (DRD2) density in the striatum. This is the opposite of pathological stimulant use, which induces decreased striatal DRD2 density. One review noted that exercise may also prevent the development of a drug addiction by altering ΔFosB or c-Fos immunoreactivity in the striatum or other parts of the reward system.
|Form of neuroplasticity
or behavioral plasticity
|Type of reinforcer||Sources|
|Opiates||Psychostimulants||High fat or sugar food||Sexual intercourse||Physical exercise
|ΔFosB expression in
nucleus accumbens D1-type MSNs
|Escalation of intake||Yes||Yes||Yes|||
conditioned place preference
|Reinstatement of drug-seeking behavior||↑||↑||↓||↓|||
in the nucleus accumbens
|Sensitized dopamine response
in the nucleus accumbens
|Altered striatal dopamine signaling||↓DRD2, ↑DRD3||↑DRD1, ↓DRD2, ↑DRD3||↑DRD1, ↓DRD2, ↑DRD3||↑DRD2||↑DRD2|||
|Altered striatal opioid signaling||No change or
|↑μ-opioid receptors||↑μ-opioid receptors||No change||No change|||
|Changes in striatal opioid peptides||↑dynorphin
No change: enkephalin
|Mesocorticolimbic synaptic plasticity|
|Number of dendrites in the nucleus accumbens||↓||↑||↑|||
|Dendritic spine density in
the nucleus accumbens
Dependence and withdrawal
According to another Cochrane Collaboration review on withdrawal in individuals who compulsively use amphetamine and methamphetamine, "when chronic heavy users abruptly discontinue amphetamine use, many report a time-limited withdrawal syndrome that occurs within 24 hours of their last dose." This review noted that withdrawal symptoms in chronic, high-dose users are frequent, occurring in up to 87.6% of cases, and persist for three to four weeks with a marked "crash" phase occurring during the first week. Amphetamine withdrawal symptoms can include anxiety, drug craving, depressed mood, fatigue, increased appetite, increased movement or decreased movement, lack of motivation, sleeplessness or sleepiness, and lucid dreams. The review indicated that the severity of withdrawal symptoms is positively correlated with the age of the individual and the extent of their dependence. Manufacturer prescribing information does not indicate the presence of withdrawal symptoms following discontinuation of amphetamine use after an extended period at therapeutic doses.
In rodents and primates, sufficiently high doses of amphetamine cause dopaminergic neurotoxicity, or damage to dopamine neurons, which is characterized by dopamine terminal degeneration and reduced transporter and receptor function. There is no evidence that amphetamine is directly neurotoxic in humans. However, large doses of amphetamine may indirectly cause dopaminergic neurotoxicity as a result of hyperpyrexia, the excessive formation of reactive oxygen species, and increased autoxidation of dopamine.[sources 11] Animal models of neurotoxicity from high-dose amphetamine exposure indicate that the occurrence of hyperpyrexia (i.e., core body temperature ≥ 40 °C) is necessary for the development of amphetamine-induced neurotoxicity. Prolonged elevations of brain temperature above 40 °C likely promote the development of amphetamine-induced neurotoxicity in laboratory animals by facilitating the production of reactive oxygen species, disrupting cellular protein function, and transiently increasing blood–brain barrier permeability.
A severe amphetamine overdose can result in a stimulant psychosis that may involve a variety of symptoms, such as delusions and paranoia. A Cochrane Collaboration review on treatment for amphetamine, dextroamphetamine, and methamphetamine psychosis states that about 5–15% of users fail to recover completely. According to the same review, there is at least one trial that shows antipsychotic medications effectively resolve the symptoms of acute amphetamine psychosis. Psychosis very rarely arises from therapeutic use.
- Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) taken with Adderall may result in a hypertensive crisis if taken within two weeks after last use of an MAOI type drug.
- Inhibitors of enzymes that directly metabolize amphetamine (particularly FMO3 and CYP2D6) will prolong the elimination of amphetamine.
- Stimulants and antidepressants (sedatives and depressants) may increase (decrease) the drug effects of Adderall, and vice versa.
- Gastrointestinal and urinary pH affect absorption and elimination. Gastrointestinal alkalizing (acidifying) agents increase (decrease) absorption. Urinary alkalizing (acidifying) agents increase concentration of non-ionized (ionized) species, decreasing (increasing) urinary excretion.
- Proton-pump inhibitors (PPIs) modify the pharmacokinetics of Adderall XR. Co-administration requires monitoring for changes in clinical effect.
- Zinc supplementation may reduce the minimum effective dose of amphetamine when it is used for the treatment of ADHD.[note 13]
Mechanism of action
Amphetamine, the active ingredient of Adderall, works primarily by increasing the activity of the neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain. It also triggers the release of several other hormones (e.g., epinephrine) and neurotransmitters (e.g., serotonin and histamine) as well as the synthesis of certain neuropeptides (e.g., cocaine and amphetamine regulated transcript [CART] peptides). Both active ingredients of Adderall, dextroamphetamine and levoamphetamine, bind to the same biological targets, but their binding affinities (that is, potency) differ somewhat. Dextroamphetamine and levoamphetamine are both potent full agonists (activating compounds) of trace amine-associated receptor 1 (TAAR1) and interact with vesicular monoamine transporter 2 (VMAT2), with dextroamphetamine being the more potent agonist of TAAR1. Consequently, dextroamphetamine produces more CNS stimulation than levoamphetamine; however, levoamphetamine has slightly greater cardiovascular and peripheral effects. It has been reported that certain children have a better clinical response to levoamphetamine.
In the absence of amphetamine, VMAT2 will normally move monoamines (e.g., dopamine, histamine, serotonin, norepinephrine, etc.) from the intracellular fluid of a monoamine neuron into its synaptic vesicles, which store neurotransmitters for later release (via exocytosis) into the synaptic cleft. When amphetamine enters a neuron and interacts with VMAT2, the transporter reverses its direction of transport, thereby releasing stored monoamines inside synaptic vesicles back into the neuron's intracellular fluid. Meanwhile, when amphetamine activates TAAR1, the receptor causes the neuron's cell membrane-bound monoamine transporters (i.e., the dopamine transporter, norepinephrine transporter, or serotonin transporter) to either stop transporting monoamines altogether (via transporter internalization) or transport monoamines out of the neuron; in other words, the reversed membrane transporter will push dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin out of the neuron's intracellular fluid and into the synaptic cleft. In summary, by interacting with both VMAT2 and TAAR1, amphetamine releases neurotransmitters from synaptic vesicles (the effect from VMAT2) into the intracellular fluid where they subsequently exit the neuron through the membrane-bound, reversed monoamine transporters (the effect from TAAR1).
The oral bioavailability of amphetamine varies with gastrointestinal pH; it is well absorbed from the gut, and bioavailability is typically over 75% for dextroamphetamine. Amphetamine is a weak base with a pKa of 9.9; consequently, when the pH is basic, more of the drug is in its lipid soluble free base form, and more is absorbed through the lipid-rich cell membranes of the gut epithelium. Conversely, an acidic pH means the drug is predominantly in a water-soluble cationic (salt) form, and less is absorbed. Approximately 15–40% of amphetamine circulating in the bloodstream is bound to plasma proteins.
The half-life of amphetamine enantiomers differ and vary with urine pH. At normal urine pH, the half-lives of dextroamphetamine and levoamphetamine are 9–11 hours and 11–14 hours, respectively. An acidic diet will reduce the enantiomer half-lives to 8–11 hours; an alkaline diet will increase the range to 16–31 hours. The biological half-life is longer and distribution volumes are larger in amphetamine dependent individuals. The immediate-release and extended release variants of salts of both isomers reach peak plasma concentrations at 3 hours and 7 hours post-dose respectively. Amphetamine is eliminated via the kidneys, with 30–40% of the drug being excreted unchanged at normal urinary pH. When the urinary pH is basic, amphetamine is in its free base form, so less is excreted. When urine pH is abnormal, the urinary recovery of amphetamine may range from a low of 1% to a high of 75%, depending mostly upon whether urine is too basic or acidic, respectively. Amphetamine is usually eliminated within two days of the last oral dose.
CYP2D6, dopamine β-hydroxylase (DBH), flavin-containing monooxygenase 3 (FMO3), butyrate-CoA ligase (XM-ligase), and glycine N-acyltransferase (GLYAT) are the enzymes known to metabolize amphetamine or its metabolites in humans.[sources 12] Amphetamine has a variety of excreted metabolic products, including 4-hydroxyamphetamine, 4-hydroxynorephedrine, 4-hydroxyphenylacetone, benzoic acid, hippuric acid, norephedrine, and phenylacetone. Among these metabolites, the active sympathomimetics are 4‑hydroxyamphetamine, 4‑hydroxynorephedrine, and norephedrine. The main metabolic pathways involve aromatic para-hydroxylation, aliphatic alpha- and beta-hydroxylation, N-oxidation, N-dealkylation, and deamination. The known metabolic pathways, detectable metabolites, and metabolizing enzymes in humans include the following:
Related endogenous compounds
Amphetamine has a very similar structure and function to the endogenous trace amines, which are naturally occurring neurotransmitter molecules produced in the human body and brain. Among this group, the most closely related compounds are phenethylamine, the parent compound of amphetamine, and N-methylphenethylamine, an isomer of amphetamine (i.e., it has an identical molecular formula). In humans, phenethylamine is produced directly from L-phenylalanine by the aromatic amino acid decarboxylase (AADC) enzyme, which converts L-DOPA into dopamine as well. In turn, N‑methylphenethylamine is metabolized from phenethylamine by phenylethanolamine N-methyltransferase, the same enzyme that metabolizes norepinephrine into epinephrine. Like amphetamine, both phenethylamine and N‑methylphenethylamine regulate monoamine neurotransmission via TAAR1; unlike amphetamine, both of these substances are broken down by monoamine oxidase B, and therefore have a shorter half-life than amphetamine.
History, society, and culture
Richwood Pharmaceuticals, which later merged with Shire plc, introduced the current Adderall brand in 1996 as an instant-release tablet. In 2006, Shire agreed to sell rights to the Adderall name for this instant-release medication to Duramed Pharmaceuticals. DuraMed Pharmaceuticals was acquired by Teva Pharmaceuticals in 2008 during their acquisition of Barr Pharmaceuticals, including Barr's Duramed division.
The first generic version of Adderall IR was introduced to market in 2002. Later on, Barr and Shire reached a settlement agreement permitting Barr to offer a generic form of the drug beginning in April 2009.
Chemically, Adderall is a mixture of several amphetamine salts; specifically, it is composed of equal parts (by mass) of amphetamine aspartate monohydrate, amphetamine sulfate, dextroamphetamine sulfate, and dextroamphetamine saccharate. This drug mixture has slightly stronger CNS effects than racemic amphetamine due to the higher proportion of dextroamphetamine. Adderall is produced as both an immediate release (IR) and extended release (XR) formulation. As of December 2013[update], ten different companies produced generic Adderall IR, while Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, Actavis, and Barr Pharmaceuticals manufactured generic Adderall XR. As of 2013[update], Shire plc, the company that held the original patent for Adderall and Adderall XR, still manufactured brand name Adderall XR, but not Adderall IR.
Comparison to other formulations
Adderall is one of several formulations of pharmaceutical amphetamine, including singular or mixed enantiomers and as an enantiomer prodrug. The table below compares these medications (based on US approved forms):
in equal doses
|(g/mol)||(percent)||(30 mg dose)|
|25%||amphetamine aspartate monohydrate||(C9H13N)•C4H7NO4•H2O||
|amphetamine base suspension[note 17]||C9H13N||
The pharmaceutical company Rexar reformulated their popular weight loss drug Obetrol following its mandatory withdrawal from the market in 1973 under the Kefauver Harris Amendment to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act due to the results of the Drug Efficacy Study Implementation (DESI) program (which indicated a lack of efficacy). The new formulation simply replaced the two methamphetamine components with dextroamphetamine and amphetamine components of the same weight (the other two original dextroamphetamine and amphetamine components were preserved), preserved the Obetrol branding, and despite it utterly lacking FDA approval, it still made it onto the market and was marketed and sold by Rexar for a number of years.
In 1994 Richwood Pharmaceuticals acquired Rexar and began promoting Obetrol as a treatment for ADHD (and later narcolepsy as well), now marketed under the new brand name of Adderall, a contraction of the phrase "A.D.D. for All" intended to convey that "it was meant to be kind of an inclusive thing" for marketing purposes. The FDA cited the company for numerous significant CGMP violations related to Obetrol discovered during routine inspections following the acquisition (including issuing a formal warning letter for the violations), then later issued a second formal warning letter to Richwood Pharmaceuticals specifically due to violations of "the new drug and misbranding provisions of the FD&C Act". Following extended discussions with Richwood Pharmaceuticals regarding the resolution of a large number of issues related to the company's numerous violations of FDA regulations, the FDA formally approved the first Obetrol labeling/sNDA revisions in 1996, including a name change to Adderall and a restoration of its status as an approved drug product. In 1997 Richwood Pharmaceuticals was acquired by Shire Pharmaceuticals in a $186 million transaction.
- In Canada, amphetamines are in Schedule I of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, and can only be obtained by prescription.
- In Japan, the use, production, and import of any medicine containing amphetamine are prohibited.
- In South Korea, amphetamines are prohibited.
- In Thailand, Amphetamines are classified as Type 1 Narcotics.
- In the United Kingdom, amphetamines are regarded as Class B drugs. The maximum penalty for unauthorized possession is five years in prison and an unlimited fine. The maximum penalty for illegal supply is 14 years in prison and an unlimited fine.
- In the United States, amphetamine is a Schedule II prescription drug, classified as a CNS stimulant.
- Internationally, amphetamine is in Schedule II of the Convention on Psychotropic Substances.
- "Adderall" is a brand name as opposed to a nonproprietary name; because the latter ("dextroamphetamine sulfate, dextroamphetamine saccharate, amphetamine sulfate, and amphetamine aspartate") is excessively long, this article exclusively refers to this amphetamine mixture by the brand name.
- Enantiomers are molecules that are 'mirror images' of one another; they are structurally identical but of the opposite orientation, like left and right hands. The amphetamine compound properly refers to a racemate, which is an equal parts mixture of the two enantiomers (i.e., a mixture of 50% levoamphetamine and 50% dextroamphetamine).
- The ADHD-related outcome domains with the greatest proportion of significantly improved outcomes from long-term continuous stimulant therapy include academics (~55% of academic outcomes improved), driving (100% of driving outcomes improved), non-medical drug use (47% of addiction-related outcomes improved), obesity (~65% of obesity-related outcomes improved), self esteem (50% of self-esteem outcomes improved), and social function (67% of social function outcomes improved).
The largest effect sizes for outcome improvements from long-term stimulant therapy occur in the domains involving academics (e.g., grade point average, achievement test scores, length of education, and education level), self-esteem (e.g., self-esteem questionnaire assessments, number of suicide attempts, and suicide rates), and social function (e.g., peer nomination scores, social skills, and quality of peer, family, and romantic relationships).
Long-term combination therapy for ADHD (i.e., treatment with both a stimulant and behavioral therapy) produces even larger effect sizes for outcome improvements and improves a larger proportion of outcomes across each domain compared to long-term stimulant therapy alone.
- Cochrane Collaboration reviews are high quality meta-analytic systematic reviews of randomized controlled trials.
- The statements supported by the USFDA come from prescribing information, which is the copyrighted intellectual property of the manufacturer and approved by the USFDA. USFDA contraindications are not necessarily intended to limit medical practice but limit claims by pharmaceutical companies.
- According to one review, amphetamine can be prescribed to individuals with a history of abuse provided that appropriate medication controls are employed, such as requiring daily pick-ups of the medication from the prescribing physician.
- In individuals who experience sub-normal height and weight gains, a rebound to normal levels is expected to occur if stimulant therapy is briefly interrupted. The average reduction in final adult height from continuous stimulant therapy over a 3 year period is 2 cm.
- The 95% confidence interval indicates that there is a 95% probability that the true number of deaths lies between 3,425 and 4,145.
- Transcription factors are proteins that increase or decrease the expression of specific genes.
- In simpler terms, this necessary and sufficient relationship means that ΔFosB overexpression in the nucleus accumbens and addiction-related behavioral and neural adaptations always occur together and never occur alone.
- NMDA receptors are voltage-dependent ligand-gated ion channels that requires simultaneous binding of glutamate and a co-agonist (D-serine or glycine) to open the ion channel.
- The review indicated that magnesium L-aspartate and magnesium chloride produce significant changes in addictive behavior; other forms of magnesium were not mentioned.
- The human dopamine transporter contains a high affinity extracellular zinc binding site which, upon zinc binding, inhibits dopamine reuptake and amplifies amphetamine-induced dopamine efflux in vitro. The human serotonin transporter and norepinephrine transporter do not contain zinc binding sites.
- For uniformity, molecular masses were calculated using the Lenntech Molecular Weight Calculator and were within 0.01g/mol of published pharmaceutical values.
- Amphetamine base percentage = molecular massbase / molecular masstotal. Amphetamine base percentage for Adderall = sum of component percentages / 4.
- dose = (1 / amphetamine base percentage) × scaling factor = (molecular masstotal / molecular massbase) × scaling factor. The values in this column were scaled to a 30 mg dose of dextroamphetamine sulfate. Due to pharmacological differences between these medications (e.g., differences in the release, absorption, conversion, concentration, differing effects of enantiomers, half-life, etc.), the listed values should not be considered equipotent doses.
- This product (Dyanavel XR) is an oral suspension (i.e., a drug that is suspended in a liquid and taken by mouth) that contains 2.5 mg/mL of amphetamine base. The amphetamine base contains dextro- to levo-amphetamine in a ratio of 3.2:1, which is approximately the ratio in Adderall. The product uses an ion exchange resin to achieve extended release of the amphetamine base.
- Malenka RC, Nestler EJ, Hyman SE (2009). "Chapter 15: Reinforcement and Addictive Disorders". In Sydor A, Brown RY. Molecular Neuropharmacology: A Foundation for Clinical Neuroscience (2nd ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill Medical. p. 367. ISBN 9780071481274.
While physical dependence and withdrawal occur with some drugs of abuse (opiates, ethanol), these phenomena are not useful in the diagnosis of addiction because they do not occur with other drugs of abuse (cocaine, amphetamine) and can occur with many drugs that are not abused (propranolol, clonidine).
- "National Drug Code Amphetamine Search Results". National Drug Code Directory. United States Food and Drug Administration. Archived from the original on 16 December 2013. Retrieved 16 December 2013.
- Heal DJ, Smith SL, Gosden J, Nutt DJ (June 2013). "Amphetamine, past and present – a pharmacological and clinical perspective". J. Psychopharmacol. 27 (6): 479–496. PMC . PMID 23539642. doi:10.1177/0269881113482532.
Mixed enantiomers/mixed salts amphetamine (3:1 d:l isomers)
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Stimulant misuse appears to occur both for performance enhancement and their euphorogenic effects, the latter being related to the intrinsic properties of the stimulants (e.g., IR versus ER profile) ...
Although useful in the treatment of ADHD, stimulants are controlled II substances with a history of preclinical and human studies showing potential abuse liability.
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- Malenka RC, Nestler EJ, Hyman SE (2009). "Chapter 13: Higher Cognitive Function and Behavioral Control". In Sydor A, Brown RY. Molecular Neuropharmacology: A Foundation for Clinical Neuroscience (2nd ed.). New York, USA: McGraw-Hill Medical. pp. 318, 321. ISBN 9780071481274.
Therapeutic (relatively low) doses of psychostimulants, such as methylphenidate and amphetamine, improve performance on working memory tasks both in normal subjects and those with ADHD. ... stimulants act not only on working memory function, but also on general levels of arousal and, within the nucleus accumbens, improve the saliency of tasks. Thus, stimulants improve performance on effortful but tedious tasks ... through indirect stimulation of dopamine and norepinephrine receptors. ...
Beyond these general permissive effects, dopamine (acting via D1 receptors) and norepinephrine (acting at several receptors) can, at optimal levels, enhance working memory and aspects of attention.
- Liddle DG, Connor DJ (June 2013). "Nutritional supplements and ergogenic AIDS". Prim. Care. 40 (2): 487–505. PMID 23668655. doi:10.1016/j.pop.2013.02.009.
Amphetamines and caffeine are stimulants that increase alertness, improve focus, decrease reaction time, and delay fatigue, allowing for an increased intensity and duration of training ...
Physiologic and performance effects
• Amphetamines increase dopamine/norepinephrine release and inhibit their reuptake, leading to central nervous system (CNS) stimulation
• Amphetamines seem to enhance athletic performance in anaerobic conditions 39 40
• Improved reaction time
• Increased muscle strength and delayed muscle fatigue
• Increased acceleration
• Increased alertness and attention to task
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- Shoptaw SJ, Kao U, Ling W (January 2009). Shoptaw SJ, Ali R, ed. "Treatment for amphetamine psychosis". Cochrane Database Syst. Rev. (1): CD003026. PMID 19160215. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD003026.pub3.
A minority of individuals who use amphetamines develop full-blown psychosis requiring care at emergency departments or psychiatric hospitals. In such cases, symptoms of amphetamine psychosis commonly include paranoid and persecutory delusions as well as auditory and visual hallucinations in the presence of extreme agitation. More common (about 18%) is for frequent amphetamine users to report psychotic symptoms that are sub-clinical and that do not require high-intensity intervention ...
About 5–15% of the users who develop an amphetamine psychosis fail to recover completely (Hofmann 1983) ...
Findings from one trial indicate use of antipsychotic medications effectively resolves symptoms of acute amphetamine psychosis.
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- Malenka RC, Nestler EJ, Hyman SE (2009). "Chapter 15: Reinforcement and Addictive Disorders". In Sydor A, Brown RY. Molecular Neuropharmacology: A Foundation for Clinical Neuroscience (2nd ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill Medical. p. 368. ISBN 9780071481274.
Such agents also have important therapeutic uses; cocaine, for example, is used as a local anesthetic (Chapter 2), and amphetamines and methylphenidate are used in low doses to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and in higher doses to treat narcolepsy (Chapter 12). Despite their clinical uses, these drugs are strongly reinforcing, and their long-term use at high doses is linked with potential addiction, especially when they are rapidly administered or when high-potency forms are given.
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When oral formulations of psychostimulants are used at recommended doses and frequencies, they are unlikely to yield effects consistent with abuse potential in patients with ADHD.
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VMAT2 is the CNS vesicular transporter for not only the biogenic amines DA, NE, EPI, 5-HT, and HIS, but likely also for the trace amines TYR, PEA, and thyronamine (THYR) ... [Trace aminergic] neurons in mammalian CNS would be identiﬁable as neurons expressing VMAT2 for storage, and the biosynthetic enzyme aromatic amino acid decarboxylase (AADC).
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Basal ganglia regions like the right globus pallidus, the right putamen, and the nucleus caudatus are structurally affected in children with ADHD. These changes and alterations in limbic regions like ACC and amygdala are more pronounced in non-treated populations and seem to diminish over time from child to adulthood. Treatment seems to have positive effects on brain structure.
- Millichap JG (2010). "Chapter 9: Medications for ADHD". In Millichap JG. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Handbook: A Physician's Guide to ADHD (2nd ed.). New York, USA: Springer. pp. 121–123, 125–127. ISBN 9781441913968.
Ongoing research has provided answers to many of the parents’ concerns, and has confirmed the effectiveness and safety of the long-term use of medication.
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The highest proportion of improved outcomes was reported with combination treatment (83% of outcomes). Among significantly improved outcomes, the largest effect sizes were found for combination treatment. The greatest improvements were associated with academic, self-esteem, or social function outcomes.
Figure 3: Treatment benefit by treatment type and outcome group
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Recent studies have demonstrated that stimulants, along with the non-stimulants atomoxetine and extended-release guanfacine, are continuously effective for more than 2-year treatment periods with few and tolerable adverse effects. The effectiveness of long-term therapy includes not only the core symptoms of ADHD, but also improved quality of life and academic achievements. The most concerning short-term adverse effects of stimulants, such as elevated blood pressure and heart rate, waned in long-term follow-up studies. ... In the longest follow-up study (of more than 10 years), lifetime stimulant treatment for ADHD was effective and protective against the development of adverse psychiatric disorders.
- Bidwell LC, McClernon FJ, Kollins SH (August 2011). "Cognitive enhancers for the treatment of ADHD". Pharmacol. Biochem. Behav. 99 (2): 262–274. PMC . PMID 21596055. doi:10.1016/j.pbb.2011.05.002.
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Only one paper53 examining outcomes beyond 36 months met the review criteria. ... There is high level evidence suggesting that pharmacological treatment can have a major beneficial effect on the core symptoms of ADHD (hyperactivity, inattention, and impulsivity) in approximately 80% of cases compared with placebo controls, in the short term.
- Millichap JG (2010). "Chapter 9: Medications for ADHD". In Millichap JG. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Handbook: A Physician's Guide to ADHD (2nd ed.). New York, USA: Springer. pp. 111–113. ISBN 9781441913968.
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The procognitive actions of psychostimulants are only associated with low doses. Surprisingly, despite nearly 80 years of clinical use, the neurobiology of the procognitive actions of psychostimulants has only recently been systematically investigated. Findings from this research unambiguously demonstrate that the cognition-enhancing effects of psychostimulants involve the preferential elevation of catecholamines in the PFC and the subsequent activation of norepinephrine α2 and dopamine D1 receptors. ... This differential modulation of PFC-dependent processes across dose appears to be associated with the differential involvement of noradrenergic α2 versus α1 receptors. Collectively, this evidence indicates that at low, clinically relevant doses, psychostimulants are devoid of the behavioral and neurochemical actions that define this class of drugs and instead act largely as cognitive enhancers (improving PFC-dependent function). ... In particular, in both animals and humans, lower doses maximally improve performance in tests of working memory and response inhibition, whereas maximal suppression of overt behavior and facilitation of attentional processes occurs at higher doses.
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Specifically, in a set of experiments limited to high-quality designs, we found significant enhancement of several cognitive abilities. ... The results of this meta-analysis ... do confirm the reality of cognitive enhancing effects for normal healthy adults in general, while also indicating that these effects are modest in size.
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Amphetamine has been shown to improve consolidation of information (0.02 ≥ P ≤ 0.05), leading to improved recall.
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Dopamine acts in the nucleus accumbens to attach motivational significance to stimuli associated with reward.
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misuse of prescription stimulants has become a serious problem on college campuses across the US and has been recently documented in other countries as well. ... Indeed, large numbers of students claim to have engaged in the nonmedical use of prescription stimulants, which is reflected in lifetime prevalence rates of prescription stimulant misuse ranging from 5% to nearly 34% of students.
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Overall, the data suggest that ADHD medication misuse and diversion are common health care problems for stimulant medications, with the prevalence believed to be approximately 5% to 10% of high school students and 5% to 35% of college students, depending on the study.
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In 1980, Chandler and Blair47 showed significant increases in knee extension strength, acceleration, anaerobic capacity, time to exhaustion during exercise, pre-exercise and maximum heart rates, and time to exhaustion during maximal oxygen consumption (VO2 max) testing after administration of 15 mg of dextroamphetamine versus placebo. Most of the information to answer this question has been obtained in the past decade through studies of fatigue rather than an attempt to systematically investigate the effect of ADHD drugs on exercise.
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In high-ambient temperatures, dopaminergic manipulations clearly improve performance. The distribution of the power output reveals that after dopamine reuptake inhibition, subjects are able to maintain a higher power output compared with placebo. ... Dopaminergic drugs appear to override a safety switch and allow athletes to use a reserve capacity that is ‘off-limits’ in a normal (placebo) situation.
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Manipulations of dopaminergic signaling profoundly influence interval timing, leading to the hypothesis that dopamine influences internal pacemaker, or “clock,” activity. For instance, amphetamine, which increases concentrations of dopamine at the synaptic cleft advances the start of responding during interval timing, whereas antagonists of D2 type dopamine receptors typically slow timing;... Depletion of dopamine in healthy volunteers impairs timing, while amphetamine releases synaptic dopamine and speeds up timing.
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Aside from accounting for the reduced performance of mentally fatigued participants, this model rationalizes the reduced RPE and hence improved cycling time trial performance of athletes using a glucose mouthwash (Chambers et al., 2009) and the greater power output during a RPE matched cycling time trial following amphetamine ingestion (Swart, 2009). ... Dopamine stimulating drugs are known to enhance aspects of exercise performance (Roelands et al., 2008)
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This indicates that subjects did not feel they were producing more power and consequently more heat. The authors concluded that the “safety switch” or the mechanisms existing in the body to prevent harmful effects are overridden by the drug administration (Roelands et al., 2008b). Taken together, these data indicate strong ergogenic effects of an increased DA concentration in the brain, without any change in the perception of effort.
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Table 2. Decongestants Causing Rhinitis Medicamentosa
– Nasal decongestants:
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This study demonstrates that humans, like nonhumans, prefer a place associated with amphetamine administration. These findings support the idea that subjective responses to a drug contribute to its ability to establish place conditioning.
- Malenka RC, Nestler EJ, Hyman SE (2009). "Chapter 15: Reinforcement and Addictive Disorders". In Sydor A, Brown RY. Molecular Neuropharmacology: A Foundation for Clinical Neuroscience (2nd ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill Medical. pp. 364–375. ISBN 9780071481274.
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Amphetamine, dextroamphetamine, and methylphenidate act as substrates for the cellular monoamine transporter, especially the dopamine transporter (DAT) and less so the norepinephrine (NET) and serotonin transporter. The mechanism of toxicity is primarily related to excessive extracellular dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin.
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Amphetamine use disorders ... 3,788 (3,425–4,145)
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- Nechifor M (March 2008). "Magnesium in drug dependences". Magnes. Res. 21 (1): 5–15. PMID 18557129.
- Ruffle JK (November 2014). "Molecular neurobiology of addiction: what's all the (Δ)FosB about?". Am. J. Drug Alcohol Abuse. 40 (6): 428–437. PMID 25083822. doi:10.3109/00952990.2014.933840.
ΔFosB is an essential transcription factor implicated in the molecular and behavioral pathways of addiction following repeated drug exposure.
- Nestler EJ (December 2013). "Cellular basis of memory for addiction". Dialogues Clin. Neurosci. 15 (4): 431–443. PMC . PMID 24459410.
Despite the importance of numerous psychosocial factors, at its core, drug addiction involves a biological process: the ability of repeated exposure to a drug of abuse to induce changes in a vulnerable brain that drive the compulsive seeking and taking of drugs, and loss of control over drug use, that define a state of addiction. ... A large body of literature has demonstrated that such ΔFosB induction in D1-type [nucleus accumbens] neurons increases an animal's sensitivity to drug as well as natural rewards and promotes drug self-administration, presumably through a process of positive reinforcement ... Another ΔFosB target is cFos: as ΔFosB accumulates with repeated drug exposure it represses c-Fos and contributes to the molecular switch whereby ΔFosB is selectively induced in the chronic drug-treated state.41. ... Moreover, there is increasing evidence that, despite a range of genetic risks for addiction across the population, exposure to sufficiently high doses of a drug for long periods of time can transform someone who has relatively lower genetic loading into an addict.
- Robison AJ, Nestler EJ (November 2011). "Transcriptional and epigenetic mechanisms of addiction". Nat. Rev. Neurosci. 12 (11): 623–637. PMC . PMID 21989194. doi:10.1038/nrn3111.
ΔFosB serves as one of the master control proteins governing this structural plasticity.
- Olsen CM (December 2011). "Natural rewards, neuroplasticity, and non-drug addictions". Neuropharmacology. 61 (7): 1109–1122. PMC . PMID 21459101. doi:10.1016/j.neuropharm.2011.03.010.
Similar to environmental enrichment, studies have found that exercise reduces self-administration and relapse to drugs of abuse (Cosgrove et al., 2002; Zlebnik et al., 2010). There is also some evidence that these preclinical findings translate to human populations, as exercise reduces withdrawal symptoms and relapse in abstinent smokers (Daniel et al., 2006; Prochaska et al., 2008), and one drug recovery program has seen success in participants that train for and compete in a marathon as part of the program (Butler, 2005). ... In humans, the role of dopamine signaling in incentive-sensitization processes has recently been highlighted by the observation of a dopamine dysregulation syndrome in some patients taking dopaminergic drugs. This syndrome is characterized by a medication-induced increase in (or compulsive) engagement in non-drug rewards such as gambling, shopping, or sex (Evans et al., 2006; Aiken, 2007; Lader, 2008).
- Lynch WJ, Peterson AB, Sanchez V, Abel J, Smith MA (September 2013). "Exercise as a novel treatment for drug addiction: a neurobiological and stage-dependent hypothesis". Neurosci. Biobehav. Rev. 37 (8): 1622–1644. PMC . PMID 23806439. doi:10.1016/j.neubiorev.2013.06.011.
These findings suggest that exercise may “magnitude”-dependently prevent the development of an addicted phenotype possibly by blocking/reversing behavioral and neuroadaptive changes that develop during and following extended access to the drug. ... Exercise has been proposed as a treatment for drug addiction that may reduce drug craving and risk of relapse. Although few clinical studies have investigated the efficacy of exercise for preventing relapse, the few studies that have been conducted generally report a reduction in drug craving and better treatment outcomes ... Taken together, these data suggest that the potential benefits of exercise during relapse, particularly for relapse to psychostimulants, may be mediated via chromatin remodeling and possibly lead to greater treatment outcomes.
- Zhou Y, Zhao M, Zhou C, Li R (July 2015). "Sex differences in drug addiction and response to exercise intervention: From human to animal studies". Front. Neuroendocrinol. 40: 24–41. PMID 26182835. doi:10.1016/j.yfrne.2015.07.001.
Collectively, these findings demonstrate that exercise may serve as a substitute or competition for drug abuse by changing ΔFosB or cFos immunoreactivity in the reward system to protect against later or previous drug use. ... The postulate that exercise serves as an ideal intervention for drug addiction has been widely recognized and used in human and animal rehabilitation.
- Linke SE, Ussher M (January 2015). "Exercise-based treatments for substance use disorders: evidence, theory, and practicality". Am. J. Drug Alcohol Abuse. 41 (1): 7–15. PMC . PMID 25397661. doi:10.3109/00952990.2014.976708.
The limited research conducted suggests that exercise may be an effective adjunctive treatment for SUDs. In contrast to the scarce intervention trials to date, a relative abundance of literature on the theoretical and practical reasons supporting the investigation of this topic has been published. ... numerous theoretical and practical reasons support exercise-based treatments for SUDs, including psychological, behavioral, neurobiological, nearly universal safety profile, and overall positive health effects.
- Malenka RC, Nestler EJ, Hyman SE (2009). "Chapter 15: Reinforcement and Addictive Disorders". In Sydor A, Brown RY. Molecular Neuropharmacology: A Foundation for Clinical Neuroscience (2nd ed.). New York, USA: McGraw-Hill Medical. p. 386. ISBN 9780071481274.
Currently, cognitive–behavioral therapies are the most successful treatment available for preventing the relapse of psychostimulant use.
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Substance-use disorder: A diagnostic term in the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) referring to recurrent use of alcohol or other drugs that causes clinically and functionally significant impairment, such as health problems, disability, and failure to meet major responsibilities at work, school, or home. Depending on the level of severity, this disorder is classified as mild, moderate, or severe.
Addiction: A term used to indicate the most severe, chronic stage of substance-use disorder, in which there is a substantial loss of self-control, as indicated by compulsive drug taking despite the desire to stop taking the drug. In the DSM-5, the term addiction is synonymous with the classification of severe substance-use disorder.
- "Amphetamines: Drug Use and Abuse". Merck Manual Home Edition. Merck. February 2003. Archived from the original on 17 February 2007. Retrieved 28 February 2007.
- Perez-Mana C, Castells X, Torrens M, Capella D, Farre M (September 2013). Pérez-Mañá C, ed. "Efficacy of psychostimulant drugs for amphetamine abuse or dependence". Cochrane Database Syst. Rev. 9: CD009695. PMID 23996457. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD009695.pub2.
- Hyman SE, Malenka RC, Nestler EJ (July 2006). "Neural mechanisms of addiction: the role of reward-related learning and memory". Annu. Rev. Neurosci. 29: 565–598. PMID 16776597. doi:10.1146/annurev.neuro.29.051605.113009.
- Robison AJ, Nestler EJ (November 2011). "Transcriptional and epigenetic mechanisms of addiction". Nat. Rev. Neurosci. 12 (11): 623–637. PMC . PMID 21989194. doi:10.1038/nrn3111.
- Steiner H, Van Waes V (January 2013). "Addiction-related gene regulation: risks of exposure to cognitive enhancers vs. other psychostimulants". Prog. Neurobiol. 100: 60–80. PMC . PMID 23085425. doi:10.1016/j.pneurobio.2012.10.001.
- Malenka RC, Nestler EJ, Hyman SE (2009). "Chapter 4: Signal Transduction in the Brain". In Sydor A, Brown RY. Molecular Neuropharmacology: A Foundation for Clinical Neuroscience (2nd ed.). New York, USA: McGraw-Hill Medical. p. 94. ISBN 9780071481274.
- Kanehisa Laboratories (29 October 2014). "Alcoholism – Homo sapiens (human)". KEGG Pathway. Retrieved 31 October 2014.
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- Nestler EJ (January 2014). "Epigenetic mechanisms of drug addiction". Neuropharmacology. 76 Pt B: 259–268. PMC . PMID 23643695. doi:10.1016/j.neuropharm.2013.04.004.
- Blum K, Werner T, Carnes S, Carnes P, Bowirrat A, Giordano J, Oscar-Berman M, Gold M (March 2012). "Sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll: hypothesizing common mesolimbic activation as a function of reward gene polymorphisms". J. Psychoactive Drugs. 44 (1): 38–55. PMC . PMID 22641964. doi:10.1080/02791072.2012.662112.
- Pitchers KK, Vialou V, Nestler EJ, Laviolette SR, Lehman MN, Coolen LM (February 2013). "Natural and drug rewards act on common neural plasticity mechanisms with ΔFosB as a key mediator". J. Neurosci. 33 (8): 3434–3442. PMC . PMID 23426671. doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4881-12.2013.
- Beloate LN, Weems PW, Casey GR, Webb IC, Coolen LM (February 2016). "Nucleus accumbens NMDA receptor activation regulates amphetamine cross-sensitization and deltaFosB expression following sexual experience in male rats". Neuropharmacology. 101: 154–164. PMID 26391065. doi:10.1016/j.neuropharm.2015.09.023.
- Stoops WW, Rush CR (May 2014). "Combination pharmacotherapies for stimulant use disorder: a review of clinical findings and recommendations for future research". Expert Rev Clin Pharmacol. 7 (3): 363–374. PMC . PMID 24716825. doi:10.1586/17512433.2014.909283.
Despite concerted efforts to identify a pharmacotherapy for managing stimulant use disorders, no widely effective medications have been approved.
- Perez-Mana C, Castells X, Torrens M, Capella D, Farre M (September 2013). "Efficacy of psychostimulant drugs for amphetamine abuse or dependence". Cochrane Database Syst. Rev. 9: CD009695. PMID 23996457. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD009695.pub2.
To date, no pharmacological treatment has been approved for [addiction], and psychotherapy remains the mainstay of treatment. ... Results of this review do not support the use of psychostimulant medications at the tested doses as a replacement therapy
- Forray A, Sofuoglu M (February 2014). "Future pharmacological treatments for substance use disorders". Br. J. Clin. Pharmacol. 77 (2): 382–400. PMC . PMID 23039267. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2125.2012.04474.x.
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When considered together with the rapidly growing literature in the field a compelling case emerges in support of developing TAAR1-selective agonists as medications for preventing relapse to psychostimulant abuse.
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Existing data provided robust preclinical evidence supporting the development of TAAR1 agonists as potential treatment for psychostimulant abuse and addiction.
- Malenka RC, Nestler EJ, Hyman SE (2009). "Chapter 5: Excitatory and Inhibitory Amino Acids". In Sydor A, Brown RY. Molecular Neuropharmacology: A Foundation for Clinical Neuroscience (2nd ed.). New York, USA: McGraw-Hill Medical. pp. 124–125. ISBN 9780071481274.
- Carroll ME, Smethells JR (February 2016). "Sex Differences in Behavioral Dyscontrol: Role in Drug Addiction and Novel Treatments". Front. Psychiatry. 6: 175. PMC . PMID 26903885. doi:10.3389/fpsyt.2015.00175.
There is accelerating evidence that physical exercise is a useful treatment for preventing and reducing drug addiction ... In some individuals, exercise has its own rewarding effects, and a behavioral economic interaction may occur, such that physical and social rewards of exercise can substitute for the rewarding effects of drug abuse. ... The value of this form of treatment for drug addiction in laboratory animals and humans is that exercise, if it can substitute for the rewarding effects of drugs, could be self-maintained over an extended period of time. Work to date in [laboratory animals and humans] regarding exercise as a treatment for drug addiction supports this hypothesis. ... Animal and human research on physical exercise as a treatment for stimulant addiction indicates that this is one of the most promising treatments on the horizon.
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Hyperthermia alone does not produce amphetamine-like neurotoxicity but AMPH and METH exposures that do not produce hyperthermia (≥40°C) are minimally neurotoxic. Hyperthermia likely enhances AMPH and METH neurotoxicity directly through disruption of protein function, ion channels and enhanced ROS production. ... The hyperthermia and the hypertension produced by high doses amphetamines are a primary cause of transient breakdowns in the blood-brain barrier (BBB) resulting in concomitant regional neurodegeneration and neuroinflammation in laboratory animals. ... In animal models that evaluate the neurotoxicity of AMPH and METH, it is quite clear that hyperthermia is one of the essential components necessary for the production of histological signs of dopamine terminal damage and neurodegeneration in cortex, striatum, thalamus and hippocampus.
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Direct toxic damage to vessels seems unlikely because of the dilution that occurs before the drug reaches the cerebral circulation.
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Unlike cocaine and amphetamine, methamphetamine is directly toxic to midbrain dopamine neurons.
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Table 5: N-containing drugs and xenobiotics oxygenated by FMO
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Zinc binds at ... extracellular sites of the DAT , serving as a DAT inhibitor. In this context, controlled double-blind studies in children are of interest, which showed positive effects of zinc [supplementation] on symptoms of ADHD [105,106]. It should be stated that at this time [supplementation] with zinc is not integrated in any ADHD treatment algorithm.
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They did not confirm the predicted straightforward relationship between uptake and release, but rather that some compounds including AMPH were better releasers than substrates for uptake. Zinc, moreover, stimulates efflux of intracellular [3H]DA despite its concomitant inhibition of uptake (Scholze et al., 2002).
- Scholze P, Nørregaard L, Singer EA, Freissmuth M, Gether U, Sitte HH (June 2002). "The role of zinc ions in reverse transport mediated by monoamine transporters". J. Biol. Chem. 277 (24): 21505–21513. PMID 11940571. doi:10.1074/jbc.M112265200.
The human dopamine transporter (hDAT) contains an endogenous high affinity Zn2+ binding site with three coordinating residues on its extracellular face (His193, His375, and Glu396). ... Although Zn2+ inhibited uptake, Zn2+ facilitated [3H]MPP+ release induced by amphetamine, MPP+, or K+-induced depolarization specifically at hDAT but not at the human serotonin and the norepinephrine transporter (hNET). ... Surprisingly, this amphetamine-elicited efflux was markedly enhanced, rather than inhibited, by the addition of 10 μM Zn2+ to the superfusion buffer (Fig. 2 A, open squares). We stress that Zn2+ per se did not affect basal efflux (Fig. 2 A). ... In many brain regions, Zn2+ is stored in synaptic vesicles and co-released together with glutamate; under basal conditions, the extracellular levels of Zn2+ are low (∼10 nM; see Refs. 39, 40). Upon neuronal stimulation, however, Zn2+ is co-released with the neurotransmitters and, consequently, the free Zn2+ concentration may transiently reach values that range from 10–20 μM (10) up to 300 μM (11). The concentrations of Zn2+ shown in this study, required for the stimulation of dopamine release (as well as inhibition of uptake), covered this physiologically relevant range, with maximum stimulation occurring at 3–30 μM. It is therefore conceivable that the action of Zn2+ on hDAT does not merely reflect a biochemical peculiarity but that it is physiologically relevant. ... Thus, when Zn2+ is co-released with glutamate, it may greatly augment the efflux of dopamine.
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Although we did not find a sufficient number of studies suitable for a meta-analysis of PEA and ADHD, three studies20,57,58 confirmed that urinary levels of PEA were significantly lower in patients with ADHD compared with controls. ... Administration of D-amphetamine and methylphenidate resulted in a markedly increased urinary excretion of PEA,20,60 suggesting that ADHD treatments normalize PEA levels. ... Similarly, urinary biogenic trace amine PEA levels could be a biomarker for the diagnosis of ADHD,20,57,58 for treatment efficacy,20,60 and associated with symptoms of inattentivenesss.59 ... With regard to zinc supplementation, a placebo controlled trial reported that doses up to 30 mg/day of zinc were safe for at least 8 weeks, but the clinical effect was equivocal except for the finding of a 37% reduction in amphetamine optimal dose with 30 mg per day of zinc.110
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Plasma protein binding, rate of absorption, & volumes of distribution of amphetamine isomers are similar. ... The biological half-life of amphetamine is greater in drug dependent individuals than in control subjects, & distribution volumes are increased, indicating that greater affinity of tissues for the drug may contribute to development of amphetamine tolerance. ... Concentrations of (14)C-amphetamine declined less rapidly in the plasma of human subjects maintained on an alkaline diet (urinary pH > 7.5) than those on an acid diet (urinary pH < 6). Plasma half-lives of amphetamine ranged between 16-31 hr & 8-11 hr, respectively, & the excretion of (14)C in 24 hr urine was 45 & 70%.
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The simplest unsubstituted phenylisopropylamine, 1-phenyl-2-aminopropane, or amphetamine, serves as a common structural template for hallucinogens and psychostimulants. Amphetamine produces central stimulant, anorectic, and sympathomimetic actions, and it is the prototype member of this class (39). ... The phase 1 metabolism of amphetamine analogs is catalyzed by two systems: cytochrome P450 and flavin monooxygenase. ... Amphetamine can also undergo aromatic hydroxylation to p-hydroxyamphetamine. ... Subsequent oxidation at the benzylic position by DA β-hydroxylase affords p-hydroxynorephedrine. Alternatively, direct oxidation of amphetamine by DA β-hydroxylase can afford norephedrine.
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Subjects with exceptionally low levels of serum dopamine-β-hydroxylase activity showed normal cardiovascular function and normal β-hydroxylation of an administered synthetic substrate, hydroxyamphetamine.
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WOODCLIFF LAKE, N.J., Aug. 14 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ – Barr Pharmaceuticals, Inc. today announced that its subsidiary Duramed Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Shire plc have signed a Product Acquisition Agreement for ADDERALL(R) (immediate-release mixed amphetamine salts) tablets and a Product Development Agreement for six proprietary products, and that its subsidiary Barr Laboratories, Inc. (Barr) has signed a Settlement and License Agreement relating to the resolution of two pending patent cases involving Shire's ADDERALL XR(R) ...
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