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Amphetamineprototype of a series of synthetic drugs, all called amphetamines, that have pronounced stimulatory actions on the central nervous system. Amphetamine itself is a colourless liquid with an acrid taste and a faint odour; the most widely used preparation of the drug is amphetamine sulfate, marketed under the name Benzedrinea white powder with a slightly bitter, numbing taste. Dextroamphetamine sulfate, marketed under the name Dexedrine, is the more active of the two optically isomeric forms in which amphetamine exists.
Other members of the amphetamine series include methamphetamine and benzphetamine.
These drugs partially reverse the depressant effects of anesthetics, narcotics, hypnotics, and alcohol. All amphetamines cause profound psychic effects, including wakefulness, mental alertness, increased initiative and confidence, euphoria, lessened sense of fatiguetalkativeness, and increased ability to concentrate.
Amphetamine effectively dulls the appetite when taken before meals, so it is widely used as an adjunct to dietary restriction in weight reduction. It is used sometimes illicitly by pilots, truckers, and soldiers on long-term missions where prolonged wakefulness is required. The amphetamines have had a major role in the management of hyperactive children because the drugs calm such children and enable them to concentrate, usually within a day after treatment is begun. Amphetamines have also been used in the treatment of narcolepsy.
Amphetamines can produce undesirable effects, the most common of which is overstimulation, with restlessness, insomniatremor, tenseness, and irritability. Physical tolerance to amphetamines develops rapidly, so that progressively larger doses must be consumed by the chronic user. The letdown effect that occurs in such users after the drug has worn off consists of a deep mental depression. The most severe aftereffect of large doses of amphetamines is a toxic psychosis whose symptoms resemble those of paranoid schizophrenia. Amphetamine addiction frequently Definition of amphetamine associated with similar abuse of barbiturates and alcohol.
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These stimulants are of three types having closely related actions on the nervous system: amphetamine proper Benzedrineone of its isomers Get a Britannica Premium subscription and gain access to exclusive content. Subscribe Now. Learn More in these related Britannica articles:. These stimulants are of three types having closely related actions on the nervous system: amphetamine proper Benzedrineone of its isomers Dexedrineand methamphetamine Methedrine.
The amphetamines have been used to alleviate depression, fatigue, the hyperkinetic behaviour disturbances of children, postencephalitic parkinsonism, enuresis, nausea…. Amphetaminefor example, is a central nervous system stimulant and acts as an antidepressant.
Amines are particularly valuable because of their ability to act as bases, a property that is a consequence of the ability of amines to accept hydrogen atoms from acidic molecules. In terms of subjective response, recently awakened sleepers often describe REM sleep as having been deep and NREM sleep as having been light.
The subjectively felt depth of REM sleep may reflect the immersion of the sleeper in the…. History at your fingertips. up here to see what happened On This Dayevery day in your inbox! address. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox.Definition of amphetamine
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