Methamphetamine is considered a prescription drug, which may be given in very small doses to patients with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), obesity, and narcolepsy. It usually comes in 5-milligram tablets in the form of Methamphetamine hydrochloride. This drug is derived from the amphetamine family of drugs, which are often effective nervous system stimulants and appetite suppressors. Extreme caution, however, is involved when giving this type of medication, as it can lead to dependence and abuse.
As a drug used in the management of obesity, methamphetamine is used mostly as the last recourse when other means of weight loss diets and medications fail. ADHD is a condition commonly seen in children and its symptoms include hyperactivity, impatience, and inattention. Methamphetamine is frequently given to ADHD patients in addition to other behavioral therapies. Narcolepsy is a sleep disorder where affected individuals often exhibit excessive sleepiness during daytime.
Physicians usually prescribe methamphetamine with care due to its many side effects. One of these is an allergic reaction to the drug, which often needs immediate medical care. Symptoms of drug allergy are swelling of the face and tongue, rashes, and breathing difficulty. Other common adverse effects of the drug include elevated blood pressure, irregular heart beats, fainting, and tremors. Some patients may also experience hallucinations, restlessness, and changes in behavior. With long-term use, memory loss, dental problems, and mental disorders can develop.
The use of methamphetamine is often not recommended in patients with heart disease, the eye disorder glaucoma, or hyperthyroidism, where the thyroid glands produce excessive thyroid hormones. There are some incidents of sudden death when methamphetamine is given in children with heart disease and structural abnormalities. Use of this drug is also given with caution in patients with bipolar disorder, a condition characterized by episodes of depression and elevated mood.
The intake of methamphetamine may interfere with other drugs patients may also be taking for other health issues. These include insulin for diabetics, decongestants for cold symptoms, and antidepressants. It is, thus, often important that patients inform their physicians about their current health status and the kinds of medications that they are currently taking.
Unfortunately, there are clandestine operators who market methamphetamine illegally in the form of powder, chunks, pills, and capsules. These illegal substances are also often referred to as ice, crystal, shabu, and meth, among many other names. Some of these users may inject the drug through the vein, inhale it, or take it orally. Abuse of this drug has been associated with violence and aggression among users.