Adverse Effects of Amphetamines on the Cardiovascular System: Review and Retrospective Analyses of Trends

  •  Ahmed Al-Imam    


BACKGROUND: Amphetamine and amphetamine-type stimulants are powerful physical and psychostimulants; they are phenethylamine derivatives. The use of amphetamines can be either medicinal or illicit. Several amphetamines have been redesigned into illegal drugs of potent properties, also known as research chemicals and designer drugs. Hence, they are named novel (new) psychoactive substances (NPS).

MATERIALS & METHODS: This study is a hybrid study of; data crunching and retrospective analysis of a trends database (1), and a systematic review of literature in relation to the amphetamines-induced adverse effects on the cardiovascular system (2). Google Trends database has been analysed in retrospect (2012-2017) to evaluate the attentiveness of surface web users towards amphetamine and a potent renowned amphetamine derivative known as captagon (fenethylline).

RESULTS: Amphetamines appear to be highly popular worldwide, particularly in the developed world including North America and European countries, and to a less extent in the developing countries including the Middle East. However, the trends are oscillating with time with significant year-to-year changes although there was some steadiness in the temporal patterns (trends), for example in 2013-2014 (p-value=0.258). Variations in the trends were found to be correlated with global events including international terrorism. The adverse effects of amphetamines were found to be highly related to the cardiovascular system with a high incidence of intoxications and deaths among substance (ab)users.

CONCLUSION: Several amphetamines are potent and used illicitly beyond their original therapeutic potential, as in the case of captagon, culminating in monumental public and economic threats. Legalising bodies should exercise tremendous and systematic efforts to counteract these threats. Database analyses can provide an accurate insight into this phenomenon that has been growing exponentially in the past decade.

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