Review article: Amphetamines and related drugs of abus

Shaun L Greene, Fergus Kerr, George Braitberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

82 Citations (Scopus)


Acute amphetamine toxicity is a relatively common clinical scenario facing the Australasian emergency medicine physician. Rates of use in Australasia are amongst the highest in the world. Clinical effects are a consequence of peripheral and central adrenergic stimulation producing a sympathomimetic toxidrome and a spectrum of central nervous system effects. Assessment aims to detect the myriad of possible complications related to acute amphetamine exposure and to institute interventions to limit associated morbidity and mortality. Meticulous supportive care aided by judicial use of benzodiazepines forms the cornerstone of management. Beta blockers are contraindicated in managing cardiovascular complications. Agitation and hyperthermia must be treated aggressively. Discharge of non-admitted patients from the emergency department should only occur once physiological parameters and mental state have returned to normal. All patients should receive education regarding the dangers of amphetamine use.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)391 - 402
Number of pages12
JournalEMA - Emergency Medicine Australasia
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2008

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