Prescription Drugs BLOG

amphetamine drug test

Street drugs like amphetamine can be easily detected via drug test, but what happens if someone tests positive for amphetamines when they claim to have never used the drug?

What is Amphetamine?

Amphetamine is a synthetic stimulant of the central nervous system (CNS) first synthesized in Germany in 1887. Amphetamine causes euphoria and eliminates fatigue; these desirable effects may lead to dependency. 

Amphetamine Side Effects

The effects of amphetamine will vary by individual risk factors including a person’s mental state, frequency of amphetamine use, concentration of amphetamine, and method of administration. Common side effects include:

  • Euphoria
  • Talkativeness
  • Dry Mouth
  • Nausea
  • Extreme Mood Swings
  • Paranoia
  • Panic Attacks
  • Seizures
  • Hallucinations
  • Chest pain
  • Convulsions
  • Decreased appetite
  • Fever
  • Insomnia
  • High blood pressure
  • Accelerated breathing
  • Palpitations
  • Muscle twitching
  • Sweating
  • Increased confidence
  • Psychosis
  • Overdose

Amphetamine Drug Test Cut-Off Levels

Amphetamine can be detected 2-4 hours after use with a standard urine drug test. The cut-off level for amphetamine is 1000 ng/mL. If amphetamine concentration in urine falls under this threshold, a false negative will be the result.

Reasons for a False Positive Amphetamine Drug Test

Best practice is to ask donors if they are currently using prescription drugs prior to collection. This is because many prescription drugs contain amphetamines, or can trigger false positive AMP results. With a valid prescription, an appointed Medical Review Officer (MRO) can rule out false positives. Prescription drugs which cause false positive amphetamine tests include:

  • Ritalin
  • Adderall
  • Dexedrine
  • Daytrana
  • Metadate
  • Focalin
  • Dextrostat
  • Concerta
  • FenPhen
  • Pondimin
  • Redux
  • Adipex
  • Desoxyn
  • Meridia
  • Fastin

Drugs used for the management of ADHD, narcolepsy, fatigue, and appetite suppression are known to contain amphetamines. This drug class stimulates the nervous system to treat inactivity, slow metabolism and hyperactivity disorders.

Certain antibiotics are also known to cause positive amphetamine test results:

  • Bromptons Mixture for cancer treatment
  • Amoxicillin for infections
  • Ampicillin for bacterial and staph infections

Amphetamine Use Warnings

  1. It is ill-advised to use amphetamines while operating heavy machinery, since this drug affects concentration and attention.
  2. Amphetamines escalate dopamine and norepinephrine levels, which can lead to dependency in high-risk individuals.
  3. Hormone synthesis is a side effect of amphetamine use which can cause elevated heart rate and blood pressure.
  4. The dosage method described on an amphetamine prescription should be followed. This drug should never be injected or snorted for enhanced effects.
  5. Young people should not use amphetamines without a prescription for better performance in school. 

Benefits of Split Specimen Testing

Not all initial positive result may be true since there are factors which may affect the accuracy of the test such as:

  • how the test was performed,
  • how the urine sample was stored,
  • the type of food or drink that the person had prior to taking the test, and
  • presence of prescription or over-the-counter drugs taken by the person prior to taking the test.

It is recommended that two samples of urine are taken from the individual. Should the preliminary urine test give a positive result, the second urine sample should be sent for confirmatory drug testing. 

Despite the availability of home drug testing kits, laboratory tests are the most reliable way to confirm drugs of abuse. These include hair follicle exams like HairConfirm Regular Hair Drug Test Kit. Moreover, it is important that a complete medical history should be taken to ensure that there are no obstacles that may interfere with the AMP drug test to be performed. 

History of Amphetamines

Amphetamine – also known as “speed” – is a synthetic stimulant used to suppress the appetite, control weight, and treat disorders like narcolepsy and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Chinese physicians were among the first health care experts to explore the use of the amphetamine compound for more than 5,000 years through a native plant called Ma Huang (Ephedra sinica) – for treatment of common cold, coughs, asthma, headaches, and hay fever.

Ma Huang is known to stimulate the nervous system to enhance mood, reduce fatigue, and make a person alert. However, in the passing of years, it was also marketed to produce euphoria and to increase sexual sensations. It wasn’t until 1887 when amphetamines were first synthesized by the drug company Smith, Kline and French.

At present, amphetamines come in various street names like A’s, meth, crystal, cartwheel, footballs, magnums, whites, powder, crank, white crosses, ice, ups, bennies, splash, and crossroads.

1930-1950

In 1932, amphetamine was marketed as Benzedrine in an over-the-counter inhaler to treat nasal congestion caused by asthma, hay fever, and colds. Around 1935, physicians successfully used it to treat narcolepsy, and by 1937 amphetamine was found to have a positive effect on some children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Around the same time, amphetamine was available by prescription in tablet form.

Meanwhile, according to Nicolas Rasmussen’s On Speed: The Many Lives of Amphetamines, it was in the 1940s when amphetamine became hugely famous that it could have been included in the list of medical breakthroughs, alongside insulin and penicillin. During World War II, soldiers were using amphetamines and methamphetamines to increase alertness, boost morale, and fight fatigue.

Furthermore, athletes and students also started using amphetamines to increase alertness levels and physical performance. By 1950, amphetamine became increasingly in demand and doctors embraced it as psychiatric medication for distressed patients.

In addition, it was also considered as a breakthrough in weight loss, and soon after media labeled amphetamine as cure-all medication.

The Amphetamines and Other Stimulants, authored by Lawrence Clayton, noted that advertisements claimed promoted amphetamines to solve problems like alcoholism and obesity. However, in the late 1950s, amphetamines were restricted and could only be acquired with the prescription of doctors.

Unfortunately, people soon discovered the presence of amphetamines in some over-the-counter decongestant inhalers and started becoming addicted and abusing it. It later became a popular recreational drug after young people found that large doses can result in a tremendous high.

1960-1970

The year 1960 became the peak of the drug’s popularity. Young people have been forging prescriptions for the stimulants. Likewise, teenage amphetamine addiction resulted in more young people suffering from heart attack and stroke.

During the 1970s, illegal speed labs came into existence on the West Coast, and though the US federal government was able to control prescription stimulants, it failed to control illegal labs. Hundreds of young people were rushed to the hospital, either sick or dying from drugs that had been made from illegal speed labs.

By 1970s, the US government imposed a heavy restriction on the supply of pharmaceutical amphetamines, as reported cases of amphetamine abuse increased.

1980-Present

At present, amphetamine’s popularity refused to fade despite government’s strict prohibition of the drug. Nicolas Rasmussen’s book noted that another epidemic of amphetamine abuse and addiction is driven by the recent surge of crystalline methamphetamine or “ice” as well as the amphetamine derivative “ecstasy.”

According to US government statistics, high dose methamphetamine resurgence started in centers in California, Colorado, Oregon, Oklahoma, and Texas. Between 1983 and 1988, emergency room admission cases involving amphetamines have doubled nationally and increased again between 1988 and 1992. Between 1992 and 2002, cases increased five-fold further.

US & International Statistics about Amphetamine Use

Amphetamine is defined by the National Drug and Alcohol Research Center as a whole family of synthetic drugs that are all chemically related and have pretty similar effects.

When amphetamines were severely abused by young people and illegal speed labs sprung between the 1960s and 1970s, the federal government of the United States began to crack down illegal manufacturers of the drug and started to pass on laws that would regulate the distribution and manufacturing of amphetamine-type stimulants. Two of the strictly implemented laws is the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 and the Federal Domestic Chemical Diversion Act of 1993.

As decades went by, amphetamines refused to die down and many people continued to abuse and misuse the drug. In the 2003 Ecstasy and Amphetamines Global Survey released by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, amphetamine-type stimulants are divided into two major sub-groups:

  • AMPHETAMINES (amphetamine and methamphetamine)
  • ECSTASY-TYPE SUBSTANCES (ecstasy, MDMA, MDA, MDE)

Meanwhile, the 2010 World Drug Report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime estimated that between 13.7 and 52.9 million people used amphetamine-group substances at least once in the preceding year, with a corresponding annual prevalence range of 0.3% to 1.2% of the population aged 15 to 64.

ASIA

The World Drug Report 2010 noted that in Asia, between 4.4 and 37.9 million people are estimated to have used amphetamine-group substances in the past year. Based on the 2008 UNODC annual reports questionnaire (ARQ) reported by the 13 of 29-member states of Asia, there has been some increase in the use of amphetamine-type stimulants among their respective population.

Bangladesh, China (including Hong Kong), Indonesia, Japan, Mongolia, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam were the countries that reported an increase in amphetamine-group substance use over the past year.

Recent data showed the Philippines, Thailand, and Laos have the highest annual prevalence use of amphetamines-group substances in East and South-East Asia.

EUROPE

In Europe, between 2.5 million and 3.2 million people aged 15-64 had used amphetamine-group substances at least once in the past year. The World Drug Report 2010 further documented that there have been high prevalence rates reported for South-East European countries, such as Bosnia and Herzegovina (1%), Montenegro (0.5%), and Serbia (0.2%).

Meanwhile, the Czech Republic, Denmark, the United Kingdom, Norway, and Estonia remain as countries with a higher than average annual prevalence of amphetamine-group substance use.

AFRICA

In Africa, the use of amphetamine-group substances rose during the past year is between 1.5 million and 5.2 million compared to 1.4 million – 4 million people estimated in 2007.

NORTH AMERICA and CANADA

According to the World Drug Report 2010, though amphetamine-group substance use remains high in North America, a recent survey showed a decline in the use of amphetamines. Among the population aged 12 years and older, the annual prevalence of all stimulants use was reported as 1.5% in 2006, 1.2% in 2007, and 1.1% in 2008.

Meanwhile, Canada has registered an increase in the use of amphetamine-group stimulants between 2004 and 2008. The annual prevalence of amphetamine-group stimulants reported in 2008 is 1.5% of the population aged 15-64, compared to 1% in 2004.

OCEANIA

Though there have been signs of decline in recent years, the prevalence of amphetamines use in New Zealand and Australia remains one of the highest in the world. Based on the World Drug Report 2010, New Zealand registered 2.1% annual prevalence among the population aged 16-64 in 2008, whereas, Australia registered 2.7% annual prevalence among the population aged 16-64 in 2007.

How Amphetamines Affect Sex Drive

The effects of amphetamine on sexuality – specifically in males – have attracted wide attention among clinicians and researchers for years. However, at present, the link between amphetamines and sexuality remained complex despite the emergence of studies that yielded varying opinions.

As noted in Leslie Iversen’s Speed, Ecstasy, Ritalin: The Science of Amphetamines, amphetamine side effects depend on dosage, personality, previous sexual experience, degree of normality of pre-drug sexual adjustment, and setting.  While some reported amphetamine users experienced decreased sexual drive, other amphetamine dependents have described an increased sexual libido and intense orgasm.

Ernest L. Abel’s Psychoactive Drugs and Sex provided more reports about the varying findings of amphetamine and sexuality. One case study by Connell reported that 7 out of the 17 amphetamine users he studied reported an increase in libido following amphetamine use.

In Bell and Trethowan study, 5 of the 14 amphetamine-users included in their sample reportedly experienced increased sexuality, whereas, 3 experienced a decreased sexuality and 5 did not experience any changes at all. Unfortunately, there was not enough information available for the remaining patient in this study to fully conclude that amphetamine triggers sexual libido.

Another study that was conducted was by Shiorring, wherein 50 Scandinavian amphetamine-users who were in rehab treatment had been interviewed to identify the link between amphetamine and their sexual experience. Eighty-five percent claimed that they experienced strong sexual stimulation after taking amphetamines.

There are also some noteworthy findings that reveal a low dose of amphetamine increases a male’s sexual libido and that a high dose and frequent use of amphetamine can trigger several sexual dysfunctions such as delayed ejaculation, decreased sexual drive, prolonged erection, and multiple orgasms.

As cited by Leslie Iversen in Speed, Ecstasy, Ritalin: The Science of Amphetamines, the large number of researchers, surveys and studies find an association between chronic and heavy amphetamine use and increased sexual activity. However, none of these studies has so far resolved the issue of whether amphetamine use causes such behavior. In contrast, some heavy amphetamine users tend to experience a reduced desire for sexual contacts and may even become impotent.

Amphetamine Psychosis

According to the Atlas of Psychiatric Pharmacotherapy the authored by Roni Shiloh; David J. Nutt; Rafael Stryjer and Abraham Weizman, Amphetamine Psychosis is a toxic reaction resembling schizophrenia that may occur after a long-term or short-term use or a single large dose of amphetamine. The symptoms at the onset of this drug-induced condition can be identical to schizophrenia, and which include confusion, suspiciousness, paranoia, auditory and visual hallucination, delusional thinking, anxiety, and periods of aggression.

Amphetamine Psychosis Stories

Amphetamines have been a popular name in neuropsychiatry, having been used to treat narcolepsy, alcoholism, depression, and obesity. Based from the documented report Clinical and Biochemical Studies of an Amphetamine Withdrawal Psychosis Clinical and Biochemical Studies of an Amphetamine Withdrawal Psychosis published in the Journal of Nervous & Mental Disease, the link between psychosis and amphetamine usage was first suggested by Young and Scoville. It came out when they introduced the possibility that amphetamine sulfate may have precipitated paranoid psychotic reactions. Since then other cases linking amphetamine abuse and misuse to psychosis have been published.

Among the cases that have been reported linking psychosis reaction to amphetamine usage were:

  • Shanson’s report of a psychotic reaction in a seven and a half-year old boy after one day of inhalation from an amphetamine inhaler.
  • Connell’s report on 42 patients with amphetamine psychosis and introduced a satisfactory biochemical screening test for urinary amphetamine excretion.
  • Askevold’s report on the occurrence of psychosis associated with amphetamine withdrawal.

Amphetamine Psychosis Treatment

There has been overwhelming information that tackles amphetamine symptoms and side effects documented in books and other educational pamphlets to alert people about what the drug can turn a person into when abused and misused. Amphetamine psychosis, in particular, has gained immense interest among many psychiatric professionals to find out solid evidence of amphetamine usage to psychosis.

The Atlas of Psychiatric Pharmacotherapy noted that the treatment of acute amphetamine psychosis centers on the management of agitation and the reversal of psychotic symptoms with antipsychotic medication. Additionally, the complete clearing of amphetamine psychosis may require up to a week.

Side Effects of Amphetamine and Cocaine

Amphetamines and cocaine can cause tolerance and psychological dependence. These central nervous system (CNS) stimulants are mood elevators and appetite suppressors used to combat drowsiness and fatigue. Use of these drugs has declined in recent years, but the potential for abuse is still high.

The effects of amphetamines depend on the individual’s mental state, dosage, concentration, and route of administration. There are major differences between the effects of cocaine and the amphetamines; amphetamines side effects last longer than cocaine.

How to Treat Dependency

Drug management protocol is divided into three stages:

  1. Assessment
  2. Management of dependence
  3. Prevention of relapse

The assessment level is deemed fundamental to the future application of appropriate interventions. This process aims to identify all experimental and recreational users of amphetamines. Factual information and advice are given by psychiatrists once amphetamine use at this level is detected.

Meanwhile, under management of dependence, the patient's environment is a crucial factor to address. If the patient is continuing to use amphetamines and does not currently wish to stop, management should be along the lines of harm reduction. On the other hand, education is required about the dangers of amphetamine use and the options available for changing that behavior, as outlined above for those experimental and recreational users.

The prevention of relapse stage is further divided into three parts:

  • Raising awareness about high-risk "triggers"
  • Developing "trigger" coping skills
  • Implementing a lifestyle change

This model is only one of the many types of treatment and management performed for amphetamine dependents or users. Health experts continue to conduct studies and research that would identify other ways and means to help amphetamine users abstain from their drug dependency.

For cocaine users, treatment is normally aimed at reducing the craving and managing the severe depression. Careful and constant monitoring of the client is necessary to prevent actions aimed at carrying out the idea of suicide. A cocaine user has an intense craving for cocaine and a strong denial that cocaine is addicting. Inpatient programs may be necessary for some clients with cocaine dependency, whereas other clients can be effectively treated in outpatient programs.

Signs of Amphetamine Use in Teenagers

According to the 2004 National Survey on Drug Use and Youth (as documented in Lawrence S. Neinstein’s Adolescent Health Care: A Practical Guide, Issue 414), an estimated 1.4 million persons aged 12 and older had used methamphetamine within the last year. Methamphetamine is classified as a powerful stimulant, originally derived from amphetamine. It comes in clear crystals or powder and easily dissolves in water or alcohol.

On the other hand, amphetamines are also considered as central nervous system (CNS) stimulants and high dosage of it can cause various adverse effects in teenagers. Harold E. Doweiko noted on concepts of Chemical Dependency the significant discovery of researchers that amphetamine abuse can cause damage in both the cellular and the regional level of the brain.

Below are other serious symptoms of amphetamine abuse in teenagers:

  • Psychiatric Symptoms: aggressiveness, confusion, delirium, and psychosis.
  • Neurological Symptoms: seizures, choreoathetoid movements, cerebrovascular accident cerebral edema, and cerebral vasculities.
  • Cardiovascular Symptoms: tachycardia, hypertension, atrial and ventricular arrhythmias, cardiac ischemia, coronary artery vasospasm, arterial aneurysms, aortic dissections.
  • Gastrointestinal Symptoms: ulcer, ischemic colitis, hepatocellular damage.
  • Musculoskeletal Symptoms: muscle contractions, rhabdomyolysis.
  • Respiratory Symptoms: pneumomediastinum, pneumothorax,acute noncardiogenic pulmonary edema, pulmonary hypertension.
  • Renal Symptoms: acute tubular necrosis.
  • Dental Symptoms: chronic gingivitis, numerous dental caries, severe dental abscesses, and necrosis.