Benzedrine Side Effects

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A woman is suffering from a headache. (Image: Jupiterimages/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Benzedrine is another name for amphetamine and dexamphetamine. This is a highly addictive drug that was once the popular base of appetite suppressants sold over-the-counter in drug stores. Today, this neurological stimulant is the basis of many medications used to treat attention deficit disorders and is the chemical base for the street drug ecstacy. Side effects can be significant, especially when taken for more than two weeks.

Cardiac

According to Georgetown University Center for the Study of Learning, a common side effect of benzedrine includes rapid heart rate and elevated blood pressure. The medication will also decrease the effects of some of the antihypertensive drugs used to treat high blood pressure, potentiating the effects of hypertension to dangerous levels. Medications used to treat low blood pressure or cardiac arrest may increase the risk of a cardiac event when taken with benzedrine.

Neurological

Adults and children may find they experience psychotic episodes, even at the recommended dosages. According to RxList.com, neurological side effects can include overstimulation, restlessness and insomnia. Individuals who already suffer from motor or phonic tics may experience an exacerbation of their symptoms. Others may suffer from depression, tremors, headaches and euphoria. These side effects may not be transient and should be reported to the prescribing physician to evaluate the need to discontinue the drug.

Gastrointestinal

Individuals who are taking benzedrine may experience gastrointestinal side effects that include constipation, diarrhea, loss of appetite, weight loss and stomach pain or upset. Individuals may also find that they have an unpleasant taste in their mouth and may vomit without any concurrent gastrointestinal infection.

Growth Suppression

Children who are taking benzedrine in their medication regimen for attention deficit disorder may experience growth retardation, according to Georgetown University Center for the Study of Learning. Doctors recommend that students are withdrawn from the medication for two weeks each year to reestablish the need for drug support. Growth spurts have been reported in children once the drug has been withdrawn from treatment and others report that the association with growth suppression appears to be dose related.

Abuse

Because amphetamines are highly addictive, they have been extensively abused. The body develops a tolerance over time to the dosage being used. This may encourage the individual to increase the dosage to achieve the same effect. According to RxList.com, psychological dependence and social disability may also contribute to the development of abuse. Individuals who are chronically overdosing will experience acne, marked insomnia, irritability and personality changes. The most severe symptom of chronic intoxication with benzedrine is psychosis that may be indistinguishable from schizophrenia.

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