Is Dextroamphetamine available in South Africa?

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Is Dextroamphetamine available in South Africa?

08 December, 2020Articles, News

Dextroamphetamine is a central nervous system stimulant that is prescribed by doctors and psychiatrists for the treatment of ADHD and narcolepsy. It is known by the names Dexedrine, DextroStat, Metamina, ProCentra and Zenzedi.  Dextroamphetamine is also the active ingredient in Adderall. Although Dexedrine and Adderall are similar drugs, they are not the same thing. Adderall, although widely known in other countries, is not available in South Africa. Dextroamphetamine is  moderately to highly addictive and can cause physical dependency on the medication. 

Dexedrine and Ritalin (sometimes branded as Concerta)  are both prescription-only medications. Dexedrine is comprised of dextroamphetamine, whereas Ritalin is comprised of methylphenidate. Ritalin is what is more commonly prescribed to treat ADHD in South Africa.  Though dextroamphetamine is not yet commercially available in South Africa, it is only a matter of time before this internationally known medication appears on the black market and starts having an impact on persons with addictive tendencies. A study quoted in the South African Journal of  Psychiatry in 2016, surveyed 818 undergraduate students at a South African university.  17.2% of students had used Ritalin in the past and only 2.3% had a diagnosis of ADD/ADHD, indicating that abuse of these prescription medications is prevalent in South Africa.  Dextroamphetamine has been prescribed in other countries as it is known to have has fewer side-effects than some of the other available medications. 

Dextroamphetamine can be used as a cognitive enhancer, an athletic aid and is used recreationally as a euphoriant and aphrodisiac.

Dextroamphetamine is most commonly abused by students when put under high-pressure situations in University and high school.  It improves focused attention. More often than not, addiction and dependence on this medication occur as a result of using it to enhance an individuals academic performance.  Over time, a person can become more and more dependent on this substance, finding it impossible to focus on work without it. This inability to perform without the use of the medication eventually leads to over use and abuse. 

Abuse of  dextroamphetamine (or Ritalin/Concerta) results in similar effects on the body as abuse of other amphetamines. Very common symptoms include weight loss as a result of the appetite suppression.  Teeth grinding and facial tics are also common when a person is actively on the medication. More serious physical symptoms can include seizures and heart attacks. 

Loss of sleep and its associated risks are not uncommon in individuals abusing this medication, which in turn can cause dependence of other drugs and medications, such are marijuana, opioids, sleeping aids and benzodiazepines, in an effort to induce sleep when over use of dextroamphetamine makes sleep near impossible. This creates a vicious cycle of dependence. 

Over use of the medication, has in some cases been known to lead to amphetamine psychosis, paranoia and delusions of grandeur. 

Like many medications, dextroamphetamine can result in an overdose if taken incorrectly. Signs of overdose include: abnormal blood pressure and heart rate, mental confusion and agitation, muscle pain, rapid breathing and elevated body temperature. Dilated pupils are also associated with the use and abuse of this medication. 

When seeking treatment or help for abuse of dextroamphetamine (or similar medications), it is important to remember that rapid withdrawal can pose a serious risk to an individuals health and mental functioning. As people develop a physical dependence on this drug withdrawal symptoms will be present. These include: aggression, confusion, depression, fatigue, hunger and over-eating, irritability, oversleeping and seizures. 

Should you or a loved one experience any symptoms when a medication is suddenly stopped it is imperative that you seek out medical assistance. Detoxing from dextroamphetamine (or similar medications) should only be done with the assistance of a medical professional. Detoxing is merely the start of the process though. The next step is sustained abstinence and along with that working on why the abuse of the substance occurred in the first place, and working to move forwards in your life with improved mental, emotional, occupational and spiritual aspects in your life. With the assistance of therapeutic interventions and support groups long term recovery from dextroamphetamine abuse (or similar medications such as Ritalin/Concerta), is accessible to anyone who suffers from an addiction. 

If you or anyone close to you needs help with an addiction to prescription medication or other substances or to alcohol, food  sex,  or gambling,  please contact us for a free assessment. 

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