What are some OTC alternatives to Adderall

PubChem no.
Pharmacological characterization
Psychotropic drug,
Narcotic drug
Sympathomimetic (stimulant)
Legal status
DE / AT? / CH? BtMG Annex 3
since 1981 (?)
Initial synthesis 1887 Edeleanu
Launch 1932 amphetamines®
Chemical names and trade names
1-phenylpropan-2-amine (IUPAC)
Amphetamines® (Amphetamine sulfate)
Dexedrine® (D.-Amphetamine Sulphate)
Actemin®, Actedron® (Amphetamine phosphate)
Adderall (various salts)

amphetamine (alpha-M.ethylphenethylamine, also Phenylisopropylamine or "speed") is a synthetic substance that has not been detected in nature. Amphetamine is the parent compound of the structural class of the same name, to which a large number of psychotropic substances belong, including MDMA (ecstasy) or the naturally occurring ephedrine. Amphetamine is a worldwide one controlled drug; trafficking and possession without permission are punishable. It is an indirect sympathomimetic and thus has a stimulating effect on the central nervous system. Due to its stimulating and euphoric effect, amphetamine is a frequently abused drug, which is mostly on the black market under the name speed or pep is offered.

Other scene names for speed are: Powder, Hard Pep, Fast, Amphe, Ampfe, Uppers, Speck.


The first synthesis of amphetamine was achieved in 1887 by the Romanian chemist Lazar Edeleanu at the University of Berlin.[1] In 1927 the American chemist Gordon Alles coined the name amphetamine, derived from the now outdated chemical name alpha-M.ethylphenethylamine. It is one of the wake-up amines (amines with a "waking" effect); however, this term is out of date and is rarely used.

Originally used as a bronchodilator and for weight control, due to its addictive potential and other side effects, it is now only used medically for the treatment of narcolepsy and attention deficit / hyperactivity disorder (ADD / ADHD), but the number of amphetamine prescriptions is increasing, especially in the USA in the form of the finished preparation Adderall® has been steadily increasing for years. In Germany and most other countries, however, other drugs with similar effects are preferred for these indications: methylphenidate for ADD and modafinil for narcolepsy. The amphetamine derivative fenfluramine had been in use as an appetite suppressant since the 1960s, but was withdrawn from the market in 1997 due to side effects that in rare cases can be life-threatening. Amphetamine is also used as a doping agent.

As an intoxicant, amphetamine is particularly widespread in the party scene due to its effects such as suppressing tiredness or increasing self-confidence. The amount of amphetamines seized in the EU has increased more or less steadily since 1985, while a certain stagnation was reached from 1999, the number continued to rise in the Scandinavian countries.[2][3]


before 1900 to 1950

  • January 18, 1887: Lazar Edeleanu was the first to synthesize amphetamine in the course of his doctoral thesis.
  • In 1910 the English physiologists Barger and Dale discovered the chemical similarity of amphetamine to adrenaline.
  • In 1927, Gordon Alles coined the term "amphetamine".
  • The psychoactivity of the substance is recognized for the first time in the late 1920s; it is supposed to replace the naturally occurring ephedrine (from ephedra) as a cheap synthetic substitute.
  • In 1932 Smith, Kline & French brought amphetamine in the form of the sulfate salt as amphetamine in the USA®-Inhaler as an asthma drug on the market, the drug is also sold in Germany, there as amphetamines®.
  • In 1937, students at the University of Minnesota discovered that amphetamine was effective at driving fatigue and used it to study through nights.
  • In the 1930s, amphetamine became more widespread as a hay fever remedy, against colds and later for all possible indications, such as depression, Parkinson's, narcolepsy, impotence and others.
  • During World War II, it is used extensively in the army in Germany, the United States, Great Britain, and Japan to keep soldiers alert, motivated, and aggressive.
  • In 1941, due to the increasing number of cases of abuse and addiction, it was made subject to the Reich Opium Act in Germany. H. traffic with the substance is regulated.
  • In 1948 Glaxo-Wellcome launched Dexedrine in the USA® (up to 15 mg dextro-amphetamine per capsule) as a remedy for ADD on the market.

1950 until today

  • In the 1950s amphetamines and amphetamines abuse reached enormous proportions in Japan, it is assumed that there were over 2 million users, and the number of cases of abuse is rising rapidly in Europe (especially Sweden) and the USA.
  • 1959 there are first reports of users in the USA, the contents of the amphetamines®Injecting inhalers, in the course of which inhalers that could be used for injection are being withdrawn from the market and the first cases of illegally produced amphetamines are known.
  • 1970: Amphetamine is included in Schedule II of the Controlled Substances Act in the United States, making it illegal to trade, own, and manufacture without a license, but it is still a prescription-only drug.
  • Until the late 1970s, amphetamine was in the form of amphetamines® relatively easily available from a doctor in Germany.
  • In the 1981 revised BtMG, amphetamine is listed in Annex III, which makes trading, possession and production without a permit a punishable offense, although it can be prescribed by a doctor. Today the (barely psychoactive) levoisomer is listed in Appendix II as non-prescribable, the racemate and the dextroisomer are still listed in Appendix III.
  • In 1994 Shire Pharmaceuticals launched Adderall in the US® (up to 30 mg amphetamine per tablet) as a remedy for ADD on the market.
  • There are still a few countries where it is still used medicinally, most notably in the United States. Amphetamine is still widespread in the drug scene worldwide, even though the amphetamine derivative methylamphetamine (Crystal, Meth), especially in the USA, Asia and Eastern Europe, is often more important.


DrugBank No.
effect NA / DA release
Tolerance training Tachyphylaxis
Plasma half-life approx. 10 h
Lipid solubility LogP = 1.80
Toxicity / precautionary statements
  • LD50 (Dog)
  • LD 50 (rat)
  • 10 mg / kg (oral)
  • 180 mg / kg (s.c.)
R and S phrases
R25, S45

(rac)-Amphetamine consists of the two stereoisomers dextro- and levoamphetamine, the former provides the desired effects and is therefore also known as eutomer, levoamphetamine as distomer.


Transmitter distribution (release)

The main effect of D-amphetamine on the CNS is the release of the neurotransmitters noradrenaline (NA) and dopamine (DA) - at an approximate ratio of 3.5: 1. In contrast, no significant release of serotonin (5HT) is observed.[4] The sometimes used term Release (dt. for release) comes from English and has found its way into German technical language.

The release mechanism consists of three steps:
a) the influx of D-amphetamine into the presynaptic cell via the transporter
b) the release of neurotransmitters from the vesicles (storage vesicles within the cell) into the cell interior (cytosol)
c) the active transport of the transmitter from the inside of the cell into the extracellular space (synaptic gap), by means of a reversal of the direction of the transporter located in the cell membrane (inversion).

In this way the extracellular transmitter level is increased. In contrast to the principle of reuptake inhibition, this happens independently of the signal impulse from the nerve cell.


The LDLo (Lethal Dose Low / lowest published lethal dose) in humans is 1.3 mg / kg; at a body weight of 75 kg this would correspond to about 100 mg. If there is tolerance, the dose is significantly higher; cases of single doses of 1000 mg and daily doses of up to 5000 mg are known. Experiments with monkeys showed a significantly higher relative toxicity in young animals, the LD50 in mg / kg there was about 65-75% below that of adult animals.[5]


Chemical-physical data
Molecular formulaC.9H13N
molar mass 135.22 g / mol
density 0.913 kg / m³
Melting point
boiling point 200-203 ° C (base)
Acid constant 10.1 (pKs)
Smell (base) Amine smell (similar to geranium leaves)
Analysis spectra
Mass spectrum link
CAS number
Beilstein E4, XII, 2586
Merck index P. 97, No. 587
  • U.S. Pat. 1,879,003
  • U.S. Pat. 1,921,424



The official IUPAC name is 1-phenylpropan-2-amine. Amphetamine has a stereocenter at C2 and is therefore chiral. It is a homologue of phenylethylamine. The base, a colorless to very pale yellowish, oily liquid, is sparingly soluble in water, soluble in alcohol, ether and weak acids such as acetic acid. It reacts with alcoholically diluted sulfuric acid and forms the precipitating sulfate salt. The base has a characteristic amine odor. The perception of the odor of the free base is effective on the organism and reaches toxic doses very quickly. A burning sensation in the mucous membranes (eyes, nose) is noticed at higher air concentrations.


There are a number of different synthesis routes.[6] In the pharmaceutical industry, amphetamine is usually produced by condensing 1-phenyl-2-propanone (phenylacetone / P2P) with ammonia and then reducing it. In the USA, the production volume approved by the DEA in 2000 was 15,000 kg, corresponding to 500,000,000 individual doses of 30 mg.[7]

In illegal production, amphetamine is obtained, for example, by reducing norephedrine (phenylpropanolamine) with iodine and red phosphorus or from phenylacetone (P2P). In the past, amphetamine could also be synthesized relatively unhindered by private individuals from precursors such as phenylacetone and hydroxylamine, but these chemicals were increasingly monitored by the authorities, and the unauthorized manufacture and trade of phenylacetone and norephedrine was made a criminal offense (Basic Substance Monitoring Act). This created a need for illegally working producers for substitutes that were not monitored. For example, phenylacetic acid was used, inter alia. gradually included in illegal production. For decades there have been new directions for manufacturing amphetamines using substances that are not yet suspect. The authorities finally become aware of these production methods and the cycle continues. So-called “OTC methods” (over-the-counter, English for “over-the-counter” which means “freely available”) are therefore spreading more and more. The designation stands for the extraction of required precursor substances from non-prescription drugs or other freely available goods (cleaning agents, car accessories), the release of which, unlike pure substances, cannot be effectively regulated. For example, norephedrine (PPA) could be obtained from over-the-counter appetite suppressants in the USA until 2002.

Toxic by-products in clandestine manufacturing

Although amphetamine is generally relatively easy to synthesize, the quality of the product remains questionable if it is manufactured without the necessary care and not supported by in-depth expertise. Illegally produced amphetamines can therefore be contaminated to a greater or lesser extent with partially toxic by-products if the correct conduct of the reaction and the required purification are not given sufficient attention; There is usually a lack of expertise and equipment / preparative effort reduces the profit margins in illegal sales. The possible impurities differ depending on the type of synthesis. In the reductive amination of phenylacetone, for example, inter alia. Formamide is a toxic substance. Very toxic mercury salts (e.g. HgCl2) used to prepare amalgams.[8]

Underground laboratories in Germany

In the unofficial context, amphetamine is nowadays mainly produced in Germany by the reduction of phenyl-2-nitropropene with Al (Hg) or LiAlH4 or the reductive amination of phenylacetone and ammonia + Al (Hg). Benzaldehyde and nitroethane or the esters of phenylacetic acid are readily available starting materials for this.

In most cases, the range is usually only a few to several 100 g per synthesis yield. These are followed by the police and referred to as laboratories with a small group of customers.

Environmental crime

The chemicals produced during illegal production are seldom properly disposed of. Solvents such as B. acetone, ether, methanol, and strong acids such as sulfuric acid and hydrochloric acid are usually dumped in barrels or canisters at night in rural areas or emptied into rivers, sometimes (including hydrogen cartridges) set on fire.[9] In the USA and the Netherlands, among others - both countries with high levels of illegal (meth) amphetamine production - the environmental damage caused by toxic by-products is growing into serious problems in some cases. The production of 1 kg of amphetamine generates 5 to 20 liters of waste, depending on the synthesis route. In addition to the quantity, the type and toxicity of the waste also depends on the particular synthesis route.[9]


Amphetamine is a so-called sympathomimetic, i. H. it has a stimulating effect on the sympathetic nervous system. In the brain, amphetamine causes the release and reuptake of adrenaline, noradrenaline and dopamine, resulting in an extremely high concentration of these 3 neurotransmitters or hormones. The body is put into a state that is referred to in English as "Fight-Fright-Flight" (English for "Fighting, Fearing, Fleeing") and is useful in life-threatening situations. Any physical needs that are not directly necessary for survival, such as hunger, thirst, tiredness, pain, etc., are eliminated. Strength, speed and libido, however, are increased many times over (primarily through adrenaline / noradrenaline) in order to allow people to react as efficiently as possible. In addition, self-confidence is increased to the point of euphoria (primarily through dopamine) and the aggression threshold is sharply lowered in order to enable a physical defense against the danger. The consciousness is also strongly focused on a certain event (originally the danger) (so-called "tunnel vision"). The circulatory system and the body are geared towards the expected high loads, among other things by increasing blood pressure and widening the bronchi (to increase the uptake of oxygen).


If these reactions of the body are now artificially triggered by amphetamine, there are various possible uses. On the one hand, the appetite suppression; various amphetamine derivatives are still used today as diet products. The reduction in the need for sleep can be used where people have to or want to perform over a long period of time, for example shift workers, truck drivers or party-goers. Increasing self-confidence is one reason for using amphetamines as an intoxicant. The focus of consciousness on certain tasks makes use of medicine when using amphetamines in hyperactivity, since people with poor concentration can then concentrate longer on a task.

The purely physical effects are also used medicinally. Amphetamine was previously used as an asthma medication, as the swelling of the mucous membranes and, above all, the widening of the bronchi enable more free breathing. Today this connection can still be found in various antiallergic drugs that contain pseudoephedrine. Pseudoephedrine is an amphetamine derivative (more precisely one of methamphetamine) and therefore also causes swelling of the mucous membranes, which among other things. is desirable for hay fever, but has only a very low psychoactive effect, which enables a significantly freer and lower-risk application, which is why amphetamine is no longer used in such an indication.

Main effects

  • Appetite suppression
  • Mobilization of the last reserves of strength and reduction of the need for sleep
  • Increase in self-confidence up to euphoria
  • increased alertness and the ability to concentrate (at high doses the other effects mask these, so that the urge to move is more likely to lead to nervousness)
  • For the treatment of ADHD / ADS as an alternative to Ritalin.


  • Pupils dilate (only with higher doses)
  • increased sweating (occurs quickly with physical exertion)
  • dry mouth (only at higher doses)
  • Decongestion of mucous membranes
  • Widening of the bronchi
  • Narrowing of the vessels
  • Increased heartbeat to tachycardia (depending on the dose)
  • Blood flow to the skin is reduced
  • Tremors (at higher doses)
  • Increase in body temperature up to 40 ° C (depending on the dose)
  • Muscle tone increases to allow the muscle to contract faster
  • Nystagmus and bruxism (eye tremors and jaw tremors at higher doses)
  • Weight loss
  • Loss of tooth enamel due to calcium deficiency and consequent loss of teeth (with long high doses)
  • Potency disorders (with long high dosage)
  • Kidney damage (with long high dosages)
  • Release of the autonomous power reserves (this greatly increases power and speed)
  • Burns of the skin on concentrated sweat spots e.g. under the armpits or between the thighs after sweating (with high dosage)


  • (Strongly) increased aggressiveness
  • increased self-confidence up to euphoria
  • increased ability to concentrate (with low doses, agility and restlessness with higher doses)
  • increased willingness to take risks
  • narcissism
  • Nervousness (with high dosage)
  • Increased need for communication
  • Rush effect, the environment moves faster (i.e. norepinephrine)
  • Megalomania
  • Triggering a latent psychosis (amphetamine psychosis is curable and lasts between 3-30 days)
  • sleep disorders
  • Job addiction
  • Greatly increased sexual desire
  • Paranoid delusions (with long high doses)
  • Psychological dependence (when used for long periods of time as an intoxicant)

There are two enantiomers of amphetamine, of which the dextroisomer (D-amphetamine) is primarily responsible for the main effects such as stimulation, increased concentration, appetite inhibition or increased self-confidence, while the levoisomer (L-amphetamine) is more responsible for the purely physical, peripheral effects like among others causes dilated pupils, dry mouth and increased sweating. Some amphetamines like the Dexedrine® therefore only contain the dextro isomer, which results in a “cleaner” effect. In general, amphetamine (both from legal and illegal production) is otherwise always the racemate, a mixture of (slightly varying depending on the synthesis route) 50% d-amphetamine and 50% l-amphetamine, so that one hundred percent D-amphetamine preparations like Dexedrine® only have to be dosed half as high. Since this difference in the effect of the isomers occurs with almost all amphetamines, an inhaler with L-methamphetamine is freely available in the USA - unlike the racemate, this only causes the mucous membranes to swell.

Medical use


From the beginning of the 1930s, amphetamine was initially used as a bronchodilator (a means to widen the bronchi, as it is used for example in asthma or respiratory diseases), the stimulating and concentration-promoting effect was still unknown. It was only towards the end of the 1930s that these additional effects of amphetamine were discovered, and with the number of new indications that resulted, the number of prescriptions rose rapidly. It was now prescribed as an asthma drug, for depression, to improve performance, for stress, colds or allergies and other diseases, which meant that amphetamine was relatively easily available through a doctor for a long time. During this time there were also combination preparations (e.g. Dexamyl®) which, in addition to amphetamine, also contained a strong sedative (mostly various barbiturates) against its side effects, a combination that is now regarded as not very sensible and risky, but was often prescribed back then as a remedy for stressed housewives. While amphetamine was called amphetamine until the late 1970s® was also (freely) prescribed in Germany, today it can only be prescribed on a narcotic prescription. For the treatment of attention disorders (ADHD), the not entirely undisputed methylphenidate has prevailed, so that there are no more amphetamine finished medicinal products in Germany. In the United States, on the other hand, amphetamines have been on the rise for drug treatment of ADHD for years and are being prescribed in steadily increasing numbers instead of methylphenidate, mostly as Adderall®, rarer than Dexedrine®.[7] Despite the high number of prescriptions in the USA, especially to school students, there is no accumulation of cases of abuse according to a 2001 study commissioned by the US Congress.[10]


If amphetamine derivatives are used correctly, for example in attention deficit / hyperactivity disorder, under medical supervision, no cases of addiction are known. The dosage at the beginning of the treatment is 5 to 10 mg / day and can be increased to 60 mg / day. On the one hand, the prescribed doses are usually much smaller than those in the case of abuse, on the other hand, in this case there is usually no euphoric effect, among other things because an oral form of consumption is always used, as opposed to the otherwise common "sniffing", nasal consumption comes, which results in a much lower approach speed. There are indications that the influx speed (the speed with which a substance reaches the brain) is very closely related to the development of addiction, which would explain the aforementioned lack of addiction cases. Another indication is narcolepsy, for which Modafinil is prescribed today, which was developed as a completely new non-amphetamine-like structure type.

Non-medical use

Outside of legal medical use, amphetamines are consumed as powder or, less often, in pill form. The powder is mostly absorbed through the nose, generally with a bill shaped into a pulling tube, a cut off straw or a metal pulling tube, but oral, parenteral and rectal consumption are also possible (see below). Compared to cocaine, the prices are rather low. Amphetamine, mostly used by consumers as speed, pep or Amphe is mostly consumed in Germany and Europe in the techno scene in order to be able to endure the long nights. In other areas (above all Asia - there, however, methamphetamine (“Yaba”)) - consumption is spreading through broader sections of the population, workers, managers and housewives increase their productivity as a result. It wakes you up, creates a slight euphoria and enables hours of dancing or other energy-sapping activities, be they physical or mental in nature. After consumption there is often a so-called turn-off, a feeling of nervousness and exhaustion; the body demands the urgently needed rest, but the not yet completely broken down amphetamine prevents this. For this reason, it is common to "smoke down" with cannabis, for example. Sometimes stronger sedatives are also used (mostly benzodiazepines such as Rohypnol® (Flunitrazepam) or Valium® (Diazepam)) taken to calm down. The suppression of symptoms by benzodiazepines is very dangerous, as the consumer can get into a vicious cycle of alternating intake of uppers (amphetamines) and downers (benzodiazepines), whereby each agent is intended to combat the after-effects and side-effects of the other.

In addition to nasal consumption (see safer sniffing), amphetamine can also be consumed orally (through the mouth), whereby it is usually wrapped in cigarette paper (so-called. Bombs/Bobbins) or dissolved in drinks. While oral ingestion is the common dosage form for medical use, it is otherwise less common. This is probably due to the fact that the effect occurs more slowly with oral consumption and there is no “kick” (due to the slower influx). However, the overall effect lasts longer. Amphetamine has a relatively good oral bioavailability, the dosage is therefore roughly comparable to that of the nasal. It can also be consumed by injection. However, this form of consumption is rarely found, which may be due, among other things, to non-acceptance and the resulting social control in the typical amphetamine consumer scene.

Unlike methamphetamine (crystal), it is not possible to smoke amphetamine. The reason for this is that the amphetamine salt most frequently found on the black market, amphetamine sulfate, has such a high boiling point (and the substance has to evaporate to smoke) that it would first decompose, i.e. be destroyed. Theoretically, the amphetamine hydrochloride, which is hygroscopic and is therefore rarely available on the black market, and the amphetamine base, which have a significantly lower boiling point, are, however, as with almost all amphetamine derivatives (and in contrast to the crystalline cocaine base / Crack), liquid and in this form almost never available on the black market. It is true that amphetamine base mixed with solid extenders is sold (known as paste), but also this mixture is not smokable due to the extenders, as they would burn and clump together.

If the amphetamine is suddenly discontinued in long-term users, withdrawal symptoms occur. Symptoms of amphetamine withdrawal are: lethargy, depression and even suicidal tendencies, apathy, anxiety and sleep disorders. Muscle pain (myalgia), abdominal pain, and excessive appetite are also possible. The symptoms only peak after 2 to 3 days and then slowly subside. In contrast to benzodiazepine withdrawal, for example, amphetamine withdrawal is harmless. The above symptoms are possible extremes, but amphetamine withdrawal can usually be described as a state of physical indolence and a general feeling of discomfort.

Dismantling and verification times

Amphetamines are almost completely absorbed in the intestine and then distributed irregularly in the body. However, the highest concentration is found in adipose tissue. After enzymatic breakdown in the liver, amphetamines are excreted in the urine as water-soluble acids. About 90 percent of the ingested drug is eliminated within three to four days. The amount of excretion depends on the pH of the urine. The more acidic the urine (e.g. by taking ascorbic acid or acidic fruit juices), the faster the breakdown.

Speed, Pep, Amphe

Common slang terms for (generally illegally produced) amphetamines include Speed, pep, marching powder, fast food, pick-me-up, bacon, the white girlfriend or White. Among the synonyms Yaba, crystal, glass, nasal powder, ice, meth or chili is usually understood to be the far more potent methamphetamine. Most of the time it is speed a whitish to light yellowish powder that has a very bitter taste. The mixture, which is sold on the black market as speed, consists only to a small extent (mostly 8 to 30%) of amphetamine, the rest is an extender. The most frequently occurring extenders are lactose (milk sugar) (in 78% of the samples), caffeine (65%), and glucose (14%), as well as, more rarely, the analgesic paracetamol (e.g. Ben-u-ron)®) or mannitol.[11] While in Europe speed mostly contains amphetamine as described, methamphetamine predominates on the black market in the USA, which is probably due to the better availability of the starting materials required for the synthesis (ephedrine preparations were available without a prescription in the USA until March 2005). Sometimes variants with rose or other aromas are in circulation, which may have "marketing reasons". Since speed is a mixture of various substances with an unknown proportion of amphetamines, there is always the risk of an overdose for the consumer, as well as the intolerance of extenders.


Amphetamine is sometimes also known on the black market as so-called. paste acted. The substance is often slightly damp and lumpy and has a strong amine odor (similar to geranium leaves). This is very likely to be the liquid amphetamine base mixed with extenders, which would result in the moist suspension described. That it is the amphetamine base also speaks that paste quickly loses its effect, which would be due to evaporation of the base, as well as the characteristic amine odor. One reason for selling it as a paste can be that the production is easier and faster to carry out, since a synthesis step (from the base to the salt) can be omitted. As mentioned, one disadvantage is the loss of effectiveness. However, there are clear differences. It is often true that the amine odor comes from the amphetamine base. However, the mass is usually a mixture of base and salt, whereby the base is often not completely neutralized with an acid to form the salt during production, since during neutralization only up to a certain point at which all amphetamine molecules are connected to an acid anion, Acid may be added. This point can be exceeded extremely quickly if you work carelessly, which is especially the case with smaller, less professional syntheses. This has a negative effect on the end product. In some cases it has been described that some of the amphetamine samples originate from this, which is perceived as extremely corrosive and acridly sharp during nasal consumption (due to the too low pH value) and can in some cases also contribute to damage to the nasal mucous membrane.

See also

Mixed consumption, safer sniffing, safer use

Risks, side effects and risk of addiction

  • Side effects include increased blood pressure and pulse rate, dry mucous membranes, dilated pupils, loss of appetite (which can also be counted as the main effect), urinary retention (inability to empty the bladder despite the urge to urinate) and a laxative effect.
  • At higher doses, compulsive movements or even cramps of the chewing and cheek muscles can occur (colloquially: "jaw kicks" or "face circus / fair"). The consequences of this can often be felt days after consumption.
  • Short-term consequences are restlessness, anxiety and insomnia. Amphetamines can cause severe psychological dependence. With high dosages and, above all, frequent, long-term consumption, there is a risk of amphetamine psychosis.
  • Long-term consumption in non-medical (more than approx. 60 mg / day, possibly even below) dosage can lead to nerve damage, severe concentration problems, bone loss, loss of tooth enamel (due to calcium deficiency) and other long-term damage.
  • Since the amphetamine content in speed is never known exactly, overdosing can occur (a lethal dose in a person weighing 75 kg can be around 100 mg of amphetamine).
  • Since amphetamines switch the body into "emergency mode", important signals such as hunger, thirst and tiredness are suppressed. A possible resulting neglect of these needs leads to physical and mental depletion due to a lack of nutrients and sleep. The consequences are increased susceptibility to infections, physical / mental weakness, etc. Optical illusions and even hallucinations can also occur due to the lack of sleep.
  • Social obligations (family, school, job, relationship) can be neglected.
  • As with all illegally acquired drugs, it is always uncertain what the substance is made up of; it often contains other psychoactive substances such as caffeine or ephedrine, neutral excipients such as lactose or possibly powerful substances such as methamphetamine. Drugchecking is therefore very important for risk reduction.
  • If amphetamines are snorted frequently, damage to the nasal septum can result, similar to cocaine.
  • The risk of addiction depends on genetic factors as well as the person's psychosocial situation. In the animal model, some individuals were able to regulate their amphetamine consumption flexibly for life, in 50% on the other hand, after a certain time, a dependency with a massive increase in dose and acquisition of a tolerance developed, which persisted even after forced withdrawal.[12]
  • At higher doses, erectile dysfunction can occur in men despite the increased sexual desire
  • After consumption, the erectile tissue may contract in men, which usually subsides again within 1-2 days.
  • In small doses under medical supervision, on the other hand, amphetamine is not acutely dangerous according to the state of the art, studies have shown that it does not cause any direct physical damage.
  • Methylamphetamine (Crystal Meth, Ice, Hitler Speed) is strongly suspected of irreversibly damaging the neurotransmitters (serotonin / dopamine), especially the transporters and receptors, even with a single consumption, certainly with continuous consumption. Possible consequences would then be severe cognitive decline within a few weeks (thought disorders) and / or severe depression.

Legal status

In the Federal Republic of Germany, amphetamine is listed in the BtMG: in the form of the racemate or dextroamphetamine in Appendix III (prescribable), as levoamphetamine in Appendix II (not prescribable; see also BtMVV). Trading and possession without a prescription or permit is a criminal offense.[13] In the US, amphetamine is recorded in Schedule II of Controlled Substances Actwhich criminalizes possession and trade without a prescription or authorization.[14] It is approved there for the indications narcolepsy and ADD.

Since 1998, the official spelling in the BtMG and BtMVV has been in the Federal Republic of Germany Amfetamine, it has thus been adapted to the WHO nomenclature.[15] In other laws, such as the Road Traffic Act (Annex to Section 24a), amphetamine but still with ph written.

In the Federal Republic of Germany, the doctor may prescribe 600 mg of amphetamine for a patient within 30 days. In justified individual cases and while maintaining the necessary safety of narcotics traffic, the doctor may deviate from this provision with regard to the maximum amount for a patient who is undergoing continuous treatment. Such a prescription is marked with the letter "A.“To be marked.[16] Until the new version of the BtMVV of January 20, 1998 (which came into force on February 1, 1998), the doctor was allowed to prescribe up to 200 mg of amphetamine (i.e. a maximum of 6 grams per month) for a patient on one day.[17]


  1. Lazar Edeleanu (1887): About some derivatives of phenyl methacrylic acid and phenyl isobutyric acid. In: Reports of the German Chemical Society. Vol. 20, No. 1, pp. 616-622. Abstract
  2. EMCDDA 2001 Indicators for the Drug Market - Seizures, Price, Purity
  3. UN statistics 2003
  4. Rothmann, Baumann 2002: Therapeutic and adverse actions of serotonin transporter substrates. (engl.)
  5. IPCS INCHEM: Toxicity of amphetamine
  6. Synthesis routes at a glance
  7. ab PBS Statistics on stimulant use. (engl.)
  8. Anthonie 1989: Impurities in Illicit Drug Preparations: Amphetamine and Methamphetamine
  9. ab Europol: The "Dirty" and Dangerous Side Effects of Synthetic Drugs Production
  10. United States General Accounting Office 2001: ATTENTION DISORDER DRUGS: Few Incidents of Diversion or Abuse Identified by Schools (engl./PDF)
  11. BKA 2002: Purity levels (PDF)
  12. Galli, Wolffgramm 2004: Long-term voluntary Image-amphetamine consumption and behavioral predictors for subsequent Image-amphetamine addiction in rats
  13. Annex III to Section 1 (1) of the BtMG
  14. Schedule II of the CSA
  15. 10. BtMÄndV Art. 1 No. 1 Letter b; Art. 1 No. 3; Art. 3 (Federal Law Gazette I, p. 74)
  16. § 2 BtMVV (prescription by a doctor)
  17. 4. BtMÄndV Art. 4 of December 23, 1992 (BGBl. 1992 I p. 2483; 2487)


  • Walter Reginald Bett, et al: Amphetamine in clinical medicine, Springer 1956, 62 pages, ISBN B0000BGHN9
  • Sean Connolly: Amphetamines (Just the Facts), Heinemann Library 2000, 56 pages, ISBN 1575722542
  • Hans Cousto: Mixed drug use - The most important points in brief about the most common (party) drugs, Nachtschatten Verlag, Solothurn 2003, 140 pages, ISBN 3037881194
  • Paul Dempsey, et al: Amphetamines & Its Analogs: Psychopharmacology, Toxicology, & Abuse, Academic Press 1994, 503 pages, ISBN 0121733750
  • Ursula Rieder, ADD drugs, who cares!?!
  • Wolfgang Schmidbauer, Jürgen vom Scheidt: Handbook of Intoxicating Drugs, Fischer 2004, 699 pages, ISBN 3596162777
  • Alexander Shulgin, Ann Shulgin: Pihkal - A chemical love story, Transform Press 1991, 978 pages, ISBN 0963009605
  • Stephen Smith: Seeks out the story of Stephen Smith, Ullstein 1998, 432 pages, ISBN 3548312152
  • Bernhard van Treeck: The new drug lexicon, Schwarzkopf & Schwarzkopf 2004, 400 pages, ISBN 3896025422
  • Bernhard van Treeck: Drugs, Schwarzkopf & Schwarzkopf 2002, 400 pages ISBN 3896024205
  • Dexamphetamine + ADHD: Latest PubMed Literature

English speaking

  • Amphetamine at DrugBank
  • Amphetamine at Erowid
  • Amphetamine and methylphenidate for attention deficit
  • Adderall package insert® (PDF)
  • Information on amphetamine with many references
  • Amphetamine clinical data, dosage, and risks
  • 'Lycaeum': Links on the subject of amphetamine
  • Animal model study on the risk of addiction to D-amphetamine
  • Study on the possible abuse of ADD medication in US schools (PDF)

Categories: Amphetamine | Stimulant | Drug