Amphetamine Toxicity Follow-up

Updated: Dec 19, 2017
  • Author: Neal Handly, MD, MS, MSc; Chief Editor: Jeter (Jay) Pritchard Taylor, III, MD  more...
  • Print

Further Outpatient Care

Patients may need referral for outpatient detoxification centers or for management of addictive behaviors.


Further Inpatient Care

Admission is appropriate for monitoring and treatment of the following severe sequelae of amphetamine use:

  • Unstable vital signs (eg, hypertension, hyperthermia) and tachycardia or other dysrhythmias

  • Chest pain, to rule out myocardial infarction

  • Respiratory distress, pulmonary edema

  • Neurologic and neurosurgical complications, status epilepticus, coma, and cerebral hemorrhage or ischemic stroke

  • Psychiatric intervention for persistent toxic psychosis or drug detoxification program entry



A patient with stable vital signs who exhibits paranoid psychosis and has no evidence of cardiac, cerebral, renal, hepatic, or pulmonary complications of amphetamine use may need to be transferred to a psychiatric hospital for observation and treatment.



See the list below:

  • Hyperthermia accompanies and complicates significant amphetamine intoxication.

  • Liver damage apparently is linked to elevated body temperature and consumption of reduced glutathione in metabolism of amphetamines.

  • Because amphetamines often are synthesized in poorly controlled settings, individuals with amphetamine intoxication may experience concomitant toxic exposures.

  • Lead, other metals, organic solvents, and precursor molecules all have been found in amphetamine samples and blood of individuals with amphetamine toxicity.

  • Treat rhabdomyolysis with generous intravenous fluids alkalinized with sodium bicarbonate, control of agitation, and temperature normalization.



Patients without signs or symptoms of end-organ failure or infections may do well with sedation and reassurance. No established modalities exist for treatment of amphetamine addiction.


Patient Education

Educate patients on the toxic effects of amphetamines and that amphetamines are not a safe alternative to cocaine use. For patient education information, see the First Aid and Injuries Center and Mental Health Center, as well as Drug Dependence & Abuse, Poisoning, Club Drugs, Activated Charcoal, and Substance Abuse.