What Is Medical Meth?

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Methamphetamine is not used in medical treatment, as it is highly addictive and illegal. However, Desoxyn (methamphetamine hydrochloride) is a prescription stimulant medication approved for treating attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and, in some cases, obesity.

Desoxyn works by increasing certain neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and norepinephrine, in the brain, which can improve attention, focus, and impulse control in people with ADHD. It is usually prescribed as a last resort when other medications are ineffective due to the potential for abuse and addiction.

Desoxyn is a controlled substance and can only be obtained with a prescription from a licensed healthcare provider. It is important to follow the prescribed dosage and frequency and be monitored regularly by a healthcare provider, as the medication can have side effects and be habit-forming.

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What Is Medical Meth & Its Uses in Treatment?

There is no medical term called “medical meth” in medicine or pharmacy. Methamphetamine, commonly known as meth, is a highly addictive and illegal drug with no approved medical uses.

Amphetamine is used in the medical field as a prescription medication. Amphetamines are a class of stimulant drugs that increase the activity of certain neurotransmitters in the brain, such as dopamine and norepinephrine. This increased activity can have therapeutic effects for specific medical conditions.

Methamphetamine and amphetamine are stimulant drugs in the same compounds called phenethylamines. They are similar in structure and mechanism of action, but there are some critical differences between them.

The main difference between methamphetamine and amphetamine is the potency and duration of their effects. Methamphetamine is more potent and longer-lasting than amphetamine. This means that it has a stronger and longer-lasting impact on the brain and body, leading to a higher risk of addiction and more severe side effects.

Regarding medical use, amphetamine is the more commonly prescribed drug of the two. It treats attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), narcolepsy, and obesity.

Methamphetamine is not approved for medical use in most countries, although it is sometimes prescribed in minimal circumstances, such as treating ADHD and sometimes obesity.

How Are Methamphetamines Used in Medicine & Treatment?

Methamphetamine itself is not used in medicine and treatment, as it is an illegal and highly addictive drug. However, Desoxyn (methamphetamine hydrochloride) is a prescription stimulant medication approved for treating attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and, in some cases, obesity.

Desoxyn works by increasing certain neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and norepinephrine, in the brain, which can improve attention, focus, and impulse control in people with ADHD. It is usually prescribed as a last resort when other medications are ineffective due to the potential for abuse and addiction.

Brand Names for Medical Methamphetamines

As previously mentioned, methamphetamine is not used for medical purposes due to its highly addictive and illegal nature. However, the prescription medication Desoxyn contains methamphetamine hydrochloride and is used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and obesity.

Desoxyn is the only brand-name medication with methamphetamine hydrochloride as the active ingredient. It is a controlled substance and is only available with a prescription from a licensed healthcare provider.

Other medications used for ADHD and related conditions that contain different forms of amphetamines as the active ingredient include:

  • Adderall (dextroamphetamine/amphetamine).
  • Vyvanse (lisdexamfetamine dimesylate).
  • Dexedrine (dextroamphetamine).
  • Adzenys XR-ODT (amphetamine).
  • Evekeo (amphetamine).

What Are Methamphetamines Used to Treat?

Desoxyn, the only prescription with methamphetamine hydrochloride as the active ingredient, is approved for treating attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and, in some cases, obesity. It works by increasing neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and norepinephrine, in the brain, improving attention, focus, and impulse control in people with ADHD. It can also reduce appetite and promote weight loss in some people who are obese.

How Do Prescription Methamphetamines Work?

Prescription methamphetamines, such as Desoxyn, increase the levels of certain neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and norepinephrine, in the brain. These neurotransmitters regulate attention, focus, and impulse control, and their levels are often disrupted in people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Methamphetamines are central nervous system stimulants, which can increase neurotransmitters’ release and block their reuptake, increasing their concentration in the synaptic cleft between neurons. This increase in neurotransmitter activity can help to improve attention, focus, and impulse control in people with ADHD.

In addition, prescription methamphetamines can also reduce appetite and promote weight loss in some people who are obese. This is thought to be due to the stimulant effect on the hypothalamus, the part of the brain that regulates appetite and metabolism.

How Are Medical Methamphetamines Administered?

Desoxyn is available in tablet form, and it is typically taken orally, with or without food, according to the prescribed dosage and frequency. The dosage is usually tailored to the individual’s needs based on their age, weight, and medical condition.

It’s important to follow the prescribed dosage and frequency and to be monitored regularly by a healthcare provider, as the medication can have side effects and be habit-forming. It’s also important to avoid crushing or snorting the drug, as this can increase the risk of abuse and addiction.

In some cases, Desoxyn may be part of a comprehensive treatment plan that includes behavioral therapy and other non-medical interventions. Working closely with a healthcare provider to determine the most appropriate treatment approach for each case is essential.

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How Are Prescription Methamphetamines Different From Illicit Drugs?

Prescription methamphetamines, such as Desoxyn, are different from illicit methamphetamine in several ways:

  • Legality – Prescription methamphetamines are legal medications licensed healthcare providers prescribe and obtain through legitimate channels, such as pharmacies. Illicit methamphetamine, on the other hand, is an illegal drug manufactured and distributed outside legal channels.
  • Purity – Prescription methamphetamines are produced under controlled conditions and are subject to strict quality control standards to ensure their purity and potency. Illicit methamphetamine, on the other hand, is often made in clandestine laboratories and may be contaminated with other substances or impurities.
  • Dosage – Prescription methamphetamines are typically prescribed at a specific dosage and frequency based on the individual’s medical condition and needs. Illicit methamphetamine, on the other hand, is often abused at much higher doses than are safe or recommended.
  • Medical Supervision – Prescription methamphetamines are intended to be taken under the close supervision of a healthcare provider, who can monitor the individual’s response to the medication and adjust the dosage as needed. Illicit methamphetamine, on the other hand, is often taken without medical supervision, which can increase the risk of adverse effects and addiction.

Can Medical Methamphetamines Cause Side Effects?

Yes, medical methamphetamines can cause side effects like any other medication. The most common side effects of prescription methamphetamines, such as Desoxyn, include:

  • Nervousness.
  • Insomnia.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Headache.
  • Dry mouth.
  • Nausea.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Dizziness.
  • Increased heart rate.
  • High blood pressure.

Less common but more serious side effects can occur as well, such as:

  • Psychosis.
  • Agitation.
  • Hallucinations.
  • Seizures.
  • Cardiovascular events, such as stroke, heart attack, or sudden death.

Medical Methamphetamines & Potential for Addiction & Physical Dependence

Medical methamphetamines, like Desoxyn, can be habit-forming and have the potential for addiction and physical dependence. This is because methamphetamines activate the brain’s reward system and increase dopamine levels, a neurotransmitter associated with pleasure and reward.

When methamphetamines are used over time, the brain can become dependent on them to release dopamine and may eventually produce less dopamine. This can lead to tolerance, which means that higher doses of the medication may be needed to achieve the same effect. It can also lead to withdrawal symptoms if the drug is abruptly discontinued, which can include:

  • Fatigue.
  • Depression.
  • Irritability.
  • Anxiety.
  • Insomnia.
  • Increased appetite.
  • Paranoia.
  • Hallucinations.

Symptoms of an Overdose

An overdose of medical methamphetamines, such as Desoxyn, can be life-threatening and requires immediate medical attention. The symptoms of an overdose can vary depending on the amount of the medication that was taken but may include:

  • Agitation.
  • Confusion.
  • Delusions.
  • Hallucinations.
  • Tremors.
  • Rapid or irregular heartbeat.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Seizures.
  • Chest pain.
  • Difficulty breathing.
  • Loss of consciousness.

If you suspect that someone has overdosed on medical methamphetamine, it’s important to call emergency services immediately. Treatment for an overdose may include supportive care to stabilize vital signs, such as breathing and heart rate, as well as medications to manage symptoms and prevent complications. It’s important to seek medical attention immediately to avoid serious or fatal outcomes.

Alternatives to Medical Meth for Treatments

Several alternatives to medical methamphetamines can be used to treat the medical conditions for which these medications are prescribed.

Alternatives to Medical Methamphetamines: 

  • Non-Stimulant Medications – For conditions like ADHD, non-stimulant medications such as atomoxetine (Strattera) and guanfacine (Intuniv) may be prescribed. These medications work differently than stimulants and may have a lower risk of abuse and dependence.
  • Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) – For conditions like ADHD and obesity, CBT may be used as an alternative or adjunct to medication. CBT is a talk therapy that can help individuals learn strategies to manage symptoms and improve behaviors.
  • Lifestyle Changes – For conditions like obesity, lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise may be recommended as a first-line treatment. These changes can be effective in reducing weight and improving overall health.
  • Other Medications – For conditions like narcolepsy, modafinil (Provigil) or armodafinil (Nuvigil) may be prescribed as an alternative to medical methamphetamines.

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At Guardian Recovery, we remain dedicated to providing our clients with a comprehensive program of meth detox that focuses on much more than physical stabilization. In addition to emphasizing physical recovery, we tackle mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being. While prioritizing a safe and pain-free cocaine withdrawal, we offer individualgroup, and family therapy sessions, case management services, relapse prevention training, and aftercare planning.

Contact us today if you or your loved one is ready to begin an entirely new way of life and commit to long-term recovery. As soon as you call, we start developing a plan of action that begins with an initial pre-assessment. This assessment helps us determine the most appropriate level of care for each unique case. We identify potential coverage options if our medically monitored detox program is a good fit. We work closely with most major regional and national insurance providers. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation insurance benefit check.

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Disclaimer: Does not guarantee specific treatment outcomes, as individual results may vary. Our services are not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis; please consult a qualified healthcare provider for such matters.

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Reviewed professionally for accuracy by:

Ryan Soave

L.M.H.C.

Ryan Soave brings deep experience as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, certified trauma therapist, program developer, and research consultant for Huberman Lab at Stanford University Department of Neurobiology. Post-graduation from Wake Forest University, Ryan quickly discovered his acumen for the business world. After almost a decade of successful entrepreneurship and world traveling, he encountered a wave of personal and spiritual challenges; he felt a calling for something more. Ryan returned to school and completed his Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling. When he started working with those suffering from addiction and PTSD, he found his passion. He has never looked back.

Written by:

Cayla Clark

Cayla Clark

Cayla Clark grew up in Santa Barbara, CA and graduated from UCLA with a degree in playwriting. Since then she has been writing on addiction recovery and psychology full-time, and has found a home as part of the Guardian Recovery team.

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