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Amphetamine Tablets and Capsules

Amphetamine Fact Card

What is amphetamine?

Amphetamine, commonly referred to as speed, is a potent CNS stimulant and anorectic. Amphetamine is prescribed for treating ADHD, narcolepsy, and obesity, most notably under the brand names Adderall and Dexedrine. Amphetamine is highly addictive and is commonly abused for its euphoric effects and its ability to delay sleep — in addition to its ability to curb the appetite.

Amphetamine Types

Amphetamine is found in both prescription and illicitly manufactured forms. Prescription amphetamine is typically found in the form of oral tablets and capsules, in a variety of shapes and colors — indicated for the treament of ADHD, narcolepsy, and obesity. Prescription amphetamine can contain d-amphetamine (Dexedrine), dl-amphetamine (Adzenys, Dyanavel, Evekeo), or a combination of amphetamine salts (Adderall, Mydayis).

Mixed Amphetamine Salts Tablets
Mixed Amphetamine Salts Tablets

Illicit street amphetamine is typically found in the form of a white to yellow powder, which is consumed by snorting, smoking, or injecting after liquefying. Illicit amphetamine can contain many combinations of amphetamine salts, but is usually dl-amphetamine (racemic amphetamine). [1]

What are d-amphetamine, l-amphetamine, and dl-amphetamine?

The amphetamine molecule exists in two basic forms, known as enantiomers (or isomers). They can be viewed simply as the right-handed and left-handed versions of the amphetamine molecule: the d- (or dextro-) form and the l- (or levo-) form — d-amphetamine and l-amphetamine, respectively.

While the two molecules appear very similar, d-amphetamine is far more potent as a CNS stimulant[2]

dl-Amphetamine is a combination of equal amounts of d-amphetamine and l-amphetamine. dl-Amphetamine is also known as racemic amphetamine and is frequently referred to simply as amphetamine.

What are mixed amphetamine salts?

Mixed amphetamine salts are a combination of amphetamine salts, most notably found in the Adderall brand. This is a 50/50 combination of d-amphetamine salts and dl-amphetamine salts, resulting in a 3:1 ratio of d-amphetamine to l-amphetamine. Generic equivalents to Adderall are available, in addition to the Mydayis brand.

Mixed Amphetamine Salts Capsules
Mixed Amphetamine Salts Capsules

Amphetamine Diversion

The diversion of amphetamine prescriptions to illicit users is a major concern in the United States. Most demographics are affected, but the problem is especially prominent on college campuses. In a study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, prescribed ADHD medications were diverted at an estimated rate of 61.7%, at a large public university in the mid-Atlantic region of the US. [3]

The consumption of amphetamines is convenient for users due to their wide availability in oral tablet and capsule forms. However, some amphetamine addicts, or those wishing to stretch their supply, will turn to other means of consumption. In attempt to maximize its effects or speed of onset, such users might crush the tablets into a powder form and consume the product by snorting, smoking, or injecting after liquefying.

Adderall Use and Abuse

The Adderall brand of mixed amphetamine salts is commonly prescribed to children and adolescents for the treatment of ADHD. The Mydayis brand of mixed amphetamine salts was introduced in 2017 and is marketed for treating ADHD in patients 13 years and older — not intended for children 12 years and younger.

Adderall use and abuse is common on college campuses, sought after for its CNS stimulant effects. In these settings, it is commonly misused in order to prolong study hours and for general recreational purposes. Adderall misuse is also common in amateur and professional athletic circles, where amphetamines are classified as banned performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) when used outside of a valid medical context.

Urine Testing for Amphetamine

Amphetamine urine tests target d-amphetamine, with possible cross-reactivity for l-amphetamine and dl-amphetamine. d-Amphetamine is prominent in the urine of those ingesting d-amphetamine, dl-amphetamine (racemic amphetamine), or mixed amphetamine salts[4][5] l-Amphetamine is prominent in the urine of those ingesting l-amphetamine, dl-amphetamine (racemic amphetamine), or mixed amphetamine salts. [5]

Amphetamine Drug Test
Amphetamine Drug Test

In a study published in the Journal of Analytical Toxicology, volunteers received doses of d-amphetamine and subsequently submitted to urinalysis screening. A range of 27–53% of provided doses was recovered in the urine as unchanged parent drug. [5]

In another study published in the Journal of Analytical Toxicology, volunteers received doses of Adderall (mixed amphetamine salts) and subsequently submitted to urinalysis screening. Significant concentrations of total amphetamine were recovered in the urine, comprised of approximately 75% d-amphetamine and 25% l-amphetamine. [4] This matches the 3:1 ratio of d-amphetamine to l-amphetamine present in Adderall and similar mixed amphetamine salts.

Related Pages


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  1. George S, Braithwaite RA. (2000, Apr). "Using Amphetamine Isomer Ratios to Determine the Compliance of Amphetamine Abusers Prescribed Dexedrine". Journal of Analytical Toxicology, 24(3): 223–227. PMID:10774542, [PDF file]
  2. Heal DJ, Smith SL, Gosden J, Nutt DJ. (2013, Jun). "Amphetamine, Past and Present – A Pharmacological and Clinical Perspective". Journal of Psychopharmacology, 27(6): 479–496. PMCID:PMC3666194, [PDF file]
  3. Garnier LM, Arria AM, Caldeira KM, Vincent KB, O'Grady KE, Wish ED. (2010, Mar). "Sharing and Selling of Prescription Medications in a College Student Sample". Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 71(3): 262–269. PMCID:PMC2845992, [PDF file]
  4. Poklis A, Still J, Slattum PW, Edinboro LF, Saady JJ, Costantino A. (1998, Oct). "Urinary Excretion of d-Amphetamine Following Oral Doses in Humans: Implications for Urine Drug Testing". Journal of Analytical Toxicology, 22(6): 481–486. PMID:9788523, [PDF file]
  5. Cody JT, Valtier S, Nelson SL. (2004, Oct). "Amphetamine Excretion Profile Following Multidose Administration of Mixed Salt Amphetamine Preparation". Journal of Analytical Toxicology, 28(7): 563–574. PMID:15516315, [PDF file]

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