Parents who wonder just what illicit use of drugs can do to their children need only to cast an eye across the adverse reactions to Dexedrine to get the picture.
Dexedrine is an amphetamine, designed by Smith-Kline Beecham to help people lose weight, but is often abused by young people as one of the "speed" drugs. Doctors are now reluctant to prescribe them too often in case they get into the wrong hands. Even in the right hands, and at the recommended dosage, the effects can be worrying enough.
A patient on Dexedrine will eventually develop a tolerance to the drug when treatment should be stopped. Dosage, which varies from between 5 and 60 mg a day in divided doses, should not be increased.
It should never be given to people with a history of glaucoma, high blood pressure, heart disease, or overactive thyroids.
Because the drug contains tartrazine, it may trigger asthma or some other bronchial reaction.
Other reactions can include palpitations, raised blood pressure, raised heart rate, and cardiomyopathy, or heart disease, although this occurs only when the dose is exceeded, . The central nervous system can also be affected, and symptoms include overstimulation, restlessness, insomnia, nervous tics and tremours. Diarrhea and constipation can also occur.
Over-dosage depends on the individual's own metabolism, but reactions can occur from as little as a 2 mg dose, although normally 30 mg would have to be taken before severe reactions were noted. Reactions at these dosages have included hallucinations, panic attacks and nausea. A fatal dose is usually preceded by convulsions and coma.