Types of Amphetamines

All amphetamine drugs are part of the stimulant family, meaning that they work to stimulate the central nervous system. The group, collectively, includes amphetamine, dextroamphetamine, and methamphetamine. Amphetamine itself is made up of two different compounds: pure dextroamphetamine and pure levoamphetamine. Interestingly, dextroamphetamine is stronger than levoamphetamine, which means that pure dextroamphetamine is more powerful than the amphetamine mixture.

All of this science can be confusing to follow when, for most people, the term amphetamine refers to speed and meth, both incredibly dangerous illicit drugs. And, yes, they are types of amphetamines. But, that doesn’t mean that all types of amphetamine are dangerous street drugs. Many prescription drugs also contain amphetamine. However, that doesn’t make them completely safe. The subject is complicated.

Essentially, all amphetamines come with a risk of dependence and addiction; however, amphetamines prescribed by a doctor and used according to the doctor’s instructions should be somewhat safe. Further, all amphetamines produced under regulated circumstances are safer than those created in illegal labs.

If you are using illicit amphetamines or have begun using prescribed amphetamines in ways other than directed by the prescribing physician, you need to stop. If you can’t stop on your own, you deserve help and Amphetamines.com is happy to offer it. Get help today at 800-816-1059(Who Answers?) to get your questions answered, locate funding resources, and get referrals to treatment programs that can work for you.

The Medical History of Amphetamines

Amphetamine Types

Amphetamines are often prescribed for obesity, narcolepsy, or ADHD.

The Center for Substance Abuse and Research reports amphetamine was first synthesized in 1887. German chemist L. Edeleano did not recognize its stimulant properties.

However, by the 1930s, its usefulness as a central nervous system stimulant and respiratory ones were being used, and the Benzedrine inhaler was marketed for use as a nasal decongestant. Additionally, doctors during this period recommended amphetamine for a number of other medical conditions, including narcolepsy, depression, obesity, hyperactivity, hangover, and morning sickness. Many of these ailments still have some form of amphetamine prescribed for them.

Amphetamine was incredibly popular because it was cheap, long-lasting, freely available, and because medical experts declared it did not pose a risk of addiction, which we now know to be completely untrue. Due to these attributes, oral and injectable forms of amphetamine – like methamphetamine – began being developed and distributed.

In the 1960s and 1970s, the abuse of amphetamine became a problem. Users discovered that intravenous application of amphetamines – particularly meth – got users high and tooke effect more rapidly than taking the drugs orally would.

By the 1980s, concentrated methamphetamine, or crystal meth, had become an acute law enforcement problem.

Although amphetamine was initially used for medical purposes only, it did get diverted into recreational use. Both illicit, recreational amphetamine use and legal, medical use continue today.  Although one poses a greater risk, both have a risk of addiction.

Contemporary Medical Amphetamine

Currently, disorders like narcolepsy, obesity, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, and Parkinson’s disease are all medically treated with amphetamines.

You may know the following amphetamine medications:

  • Adderall: amphetamine and dextroamphetamine
  • Vyvanse: lisdexamfetamine (contracted from L-lysine-dextroamphetamine)
  • Evekeo: amphetamine systemic
  • Adzenys XR-ODT: amphetamine systemic
  • Dyanavel XR: amphetamine systemic

All amphetamine medications are labeled Schedule II drugs by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This means they have a high potential for abuse and this can lead to psychological and/or physical dependence.


Although amphetamine can be prescribed and taken quite safely, diversion of the medication into recreational use has resulted in a growing pattern of abuse. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reports nonmedical use of Adderall increased among adults from 2006 to 2010, particularly among young adults aged 18 to 25. This pattern of non-medical use is also leading to a number of emergency department visits.

SAMHSA reports that between 2005 and 2010:

  • The number of emergency visits involving ADHD stimulant medications increased from 13,379 to 31,244 visits
  • The number of emergency visits involving ADHD stimulant medications increased significantly for adults aged 18 or older
  • number of emergency visits related to ADHD stimulant medications that involved nonmedical use increased from 5,212 to 15,585 visits; those involving adverse reactions increased from 5,085 to 9,181 visits

Not all amphetamine use is dangerous, but even prescribed amphetamine has the risk of abuse.

If you need help breaking your amphetamine habit, Amphetamines.com can help. Get help today at 800-816-1059(Who Answers?).