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Prescription Methamphetamine: Everything You Need to Know

By Nigistry Lulu
Learn the health conditions this drug is approved to treat and the risks of taking it.

When you think of methamphetamine, the dangerous street drug “meth” may come to mind. That makes sense, because this stimulant is usually made and sold illegally in the U.S.

But there’s also a legal, FDA-approved version of the drug. It’s called methamphetamine hydrochloride (Desoxyn), and in rare cases, doctors prescribe it to treat a couple of medical conditions: ADHD and obesity. 

Desoxyn is a tablet you take by mouth. You have to follow all of your doctor’s directions on how and when to take it. The prescription isn’t refillable because of its potential for drug abuse or dependence.

Here’s what you need to know about the drug’s uses and risks. 

ADHD Treatment

Desoxyn is approved to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder in people over 6 years old. The FDA says it may:

  • Boost attention
  • Reduce impulsive and hyper behavior

It works by altering the amounts of certain natural substances in the brain. It’s meant to be used along with other ADHD treatments, like counseling.

Weight Loss Treatment

Your doctor might prescribe Desoxyn to help you shed pounds if you’re obese and other weight-loss treatments haven’t helped. 

It’s approved only for short-term use along with a low-calorie eating plan. Although prescription methamphetamine can curb your appetite, its effects on the central nervous system and metabolism may also play roles in weight loss.

Who Can Take the Drug?

Only a doctor can tell you if prescription methamphetamine might be right for you or your loved one. They’ll help you weigh the pros and cons of taking the drug and decide whether or not it’s safe.

Tell the doctor if you or your loved one: 

  • Has any other medical conditions (or a family history of them)
  • Has ever abused or been dependent on alcohol or drugs
  • Takes any medications, supplements, or vitamins

Because Desoxyn can be dangerous for people with certain health conditions, it’s extra important to let your doctor know if you or your loved one has a:

  • Heart or blood pressure problem
  • Mental health illness
  • Circulation problem
  • Pregnancy

What Are the Side Effects?

Let the doctor know right away if you or your loved one has any side effects from prescription methamphetamine. 

The drug can bring on serious problems, such as:

  • Heart-related problems, like heart attacks, stroke, and high blood pressure
  • Mental illnesses, like new or worse behavior, aggression, or seeing or hearing things that aren’t there
  • Slowed growth in children
  • Seizures
  • Changes in eyesight

Some common side effects include:

  • Faster heart beat
  • Tremors
  • Sleeping problems
  • Upset stomach
  • Dry mouth
  • Less appetite

Your doctor has to track your health while you take the drug. You’ll get regular checkups to make sure the medication is working correctly and to spot any unwanted effects.

How to Get Help for Drug Abuse

If you or a loved one is misusing methamphetamine, reach out for help as soon as possible. WebMD Connect to Care Advisors are standing by to assist you.

Treatment & Resources for Meth Addiction