Aim:  Dexamphetamine has 3 main uses in adult psychiatry.

  1. To supplement the benefits obtained from antidepressants;
  2. To overcome chronic exhaustion or excessive need for sleep (which can sometimes occur as a side effect of the needed dose of antidepressants; and
  3. To treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity disorder (the medication si widely used in children for this reason).


Mechanism of Action:  This medication increases the availability and the release of chemicals in the brain known as neurotransmitters, whose balance controls depression.


Dosage:  It is important to use the lowest dose possible so that the production of brain neurotransmitters can keep up with the extra supply demanded by the use of Dexamphetamine.  High doses of Dexamphetamine run the risk of transient benefit followed by a worsening of symptoms, due to exhaustion of the supply of neurotransmitters.  For most people, 3 to 6 tablets per day is the best dose.


Timing of Medication:  As this medication is strongly energising it must be taken in the morning and perhaps also at lunchtime in a lower dose.  The effects usually last 4 to 6 hours approximately.  Before or after food does not matter.  Taking the medication late in the afternoon or at night will probably interfere with your sleep.


Addiction:  High dose and prolonged use run the risk of addiction.  Do not try to increase the dose without discussing this with your doctor.  From time to time, we will reduce and try to stop the medication for a few days, provided your symptoms are tolerable with this tactic. Note that this medication is considerably different to methamphetamine (ice).


Side Effects:  You may experience some, or none, of the following:

  • Sleep disturbance.
  • Agitation, anxiety, irritability, mood swings.
  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure, palpitations, dizziness.
  • Jaw clenching and grinding teeth.
  • Loss of appetite, hands shaking, sexual problems.
  • Rare: – Addiction, paranoid feelings, psychotic symptoms, convulsions.


Legal Controls:  A Department of Health permit allowing the medication to be prescribed for you is usually compulsory in most countries.  Your doctor and the Department of Health will monitor the number of tablets you are prescribed.


This information is intended to improve your knowledge of the treatment you are receiving.  Any further points can be discussed at your next consultation with your doctor.


Important Disclaimer:  This site is medical information only, and is not to be taken as diagnosis, advice or treatment, which can only be decided by your own doctor.

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