Classification: CNS Stimulant, Sympathomimetic Amines

Background: Methamphetamine and amphetamine belong to a group of structurally related drugs called sympathomimetic amines (SMAs) that are central nervous system stimulants. Amphetamine was first synthesized in 1887 and has been used clinically since 1935. Currently the only approved uses are for the treatment of narcolepsy and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Methamphetamine was first synthesized in 1919 and has been used clinically since 1930. Currently the only approved uses for methamphetamine are for the treatment of ADHD, morbid obesity and narcolepsy. Both amphetamine and methamphetamine exist as two enantiomeric forms (optical isomers) each: d and l. The d-enantiomer has considerably more CNS stimulant activity compared to the l-enantiomer. The l-enantiomer has decongestant properties and is a component of Vick’s Inhaler. Both methamphetamine and amphetamine have high abuse, dependence and addiction potential.

Legally Obtained with Prescription as: Methamphetamine: Schedule II – Desoxyephedrine, Desoxyn, Methedrine
Amphetamine: Schedule II – Dexedrine, Benzedrine, Adderall, Vyvanse, Amphetamine Salts, Dextroamphetamine

Legally Obtained Without Prescription As: Vicks Inhaler (l-methamphetamine)

Street Names: Amphetamine – Black Beauties, Bennies, Crosses, Hearts, Uppers, Speed. Methamphetamine – Meth, Crank, Crystal, Crystal Meth, Glass, Ice, Speed

Mode(s) of Use: Can be taken orally, snorted, smoked or injected

Physiological Effects: Increased metabolism, heart rate, energy, nervousness, alertness and reduced appetite.

Psychological Effects: Methamphetamine has a long list of potentially disastrous side effects, including paranoia, hallucinations and repetitive behavior patterns, heart attacks and strokes. High dosages and long-term use can bring on full-blown psychosis with violent aggressive behavior and can lead to symptoms that resemble schizophrenia.

Metabolism: Methamphetamine is metabolized to amphetamine and both are excreted in the urine. Amphetamine is NOT metabolized to methamphetamine.

Detection in Time Urine: 1–5 days
The elimination of amphetamine and methamphetamine is pH dependent; alkaline urine (increased pH) results in reduced excretion rate and acidic urine (decreased pH) increases elimination rate.

Detection Time in Oral Fluid: Amphetamine 1–2 days; Methamphetamine 1–3 days

chemical structure of methamphetamine
chemical structure of amphetamine

Questions? Contact us!

The information provided is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be used as medical advice. Detection times are approximate and may be influenced by a number of factors, including BMI, duration of drug use, dosage and interindividual metabolic differences. For specific drug testing result interpretation questions, please contact us.


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