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Emerg Med Australas. 2008 Oct;20(5):391-402. doi: 10.1111/j.1742-6723.2008.01114.x.

Review article: amphetamines and related drugs of abuse.

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Department of Emergency Medicine, Austin Health and Victorian Poisons Information Service, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.


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.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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