Methamphetamine Toxicity Follow-up

Updated: Dec 26, 2017
  • Author: John R Richards, MD, FAAEM; Chief Editor: Jeter (Jay) Pritchard Taylor, III, MD  more...
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Further Outpatient Care

Referral to a drug treatment center and/or psychiatrist may be indicated. Studies of methamphetamine-dependent patients have found that methamphetamine withdrawal is marked by sleep disruption. Withdrawal symptoms typically resolve over 2 to 3 weeks, and particularly in the first week. Depression typically improves during that time, but anxiety may not. [82, 83]  

To date, phase II trials have yet to identify a pharmacologic agent that is strongly effective in helping patients achieve abstinence from methamphetamine. However, agents with novel therapeutic targets appear promising. [84]


Further Inpatient Care

Critical care management may be needed for patients with any of the following:

  • Persistent hypertension
  • Severe rhabdomyolysis
  • Seizures
  • Stroke
  • Coma
  • Hyperthermia
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Acute coronary syndrome


Methamphetamine addiction is notoriously difficult to treat successfully, as it is difficult to remove the patient from the subculture involved in the production, distribution, and abuse of the drug.

A study by McKetin et al attempted to evaluate the impact of community-based drug treatment on methamphetamine use. Participants were methamphetamine users entering community-based detoxification (n = 112) or residential rehabilitation (n = 248) services and a quasi-control group of methamphetamine users (n = 101) recruited from the community. Compared to the quasi-control group, detoxification did not reduce methamphetamine use at follow-up. Residential rehabilitation showed some efficacy in reducing methamphetamine use, but the decrease was time-limited. [85]



Complications of methamphetamine use include the following:


Patient Education

For patient education information, see the Mental Health and Behavior Center, and Substance Abuse Center, as well as Drug Dependence & Abuse, Substance Abuse, Club Drugs, and  Poisoning.