- a stereoisomer of amphetamine (amfetamine) - has greater stimulant properties than amphetamine (amfetamine)
- licensed indications include for treating childhood hyperactivity where non-pharmacological measures have proved insufficient - there is evidence that treatment with dexamfetamine (or methylphenidate) relieves the symptoms of severe hyperactivity in children, at least, in the short-term (1)
- dexamfetamine is also used in the treatment of narcolepsy
- however there are few published controlled trials assessing dexamfetamine
in patients with narcolepsy (2)
- in one double-blind crossover trial, dexamfetamine (30mg daily for 4 weeks) roughly halved "sleep attacks" (from 4.4 to 2.2 per day, p<0.01)
- however there are few published controlled trials assessing dexamfetamine in patients with narcolepsy (2)
- dexamfetamine can cause dependence and tolerance (and in the UK, it is classified as a Controlled Drug), and so some doctors and patients may be reluctant to use it (2)
- adverse effects include:
- emotional lability, insomnia, reduced appetite
- there have been reports of growth retardation with long-term use - this effect can be reduced by using drug-free periods; also effect does not appear to affect final adult weight and height
- rare effects - seizures, compulsive behaviours, psychotic reactions, persistent dysphoria, lack of spontaneity
- dexamfetamine is contraindicated in patients with moderate to severe hypertension.
The Summary of Product Characteristics must be consulted before prescribing this drug.
- Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin 2001; 39(7):52-54.
- Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin 2004; 42(7):52-56.
Last reviewed 01/2018