(alpha-methyl-beta-phenyl-ethyl-amine) A colorless, liquid drug, C6H5CH2CH(NH2)CH3, that acts as a stimulant of the central nervous system by causing the release of the neurotransmitters noradrenaline and dopamine from the nerve endings. The class "amphetamines" is used to describe amphetamine and any of its derivatives.

First synthesized in Germany in 1887, nothing was done with the drug until the late 1920's, when its medicinal uses began to be investigated. In 1927, it was found to raise blood pressure, enlarge nasal and bronchial passages and, in 1932, began to be marketed as Benzedrine in a non-prescription inhaler to treat nasal congestion. In 1935, it was successfully used in treating narcolepsy. In 1937, amphetamine was found to calm hyperactive children, improving their concentration and performance. During World War II, large amounts of amphetamines were given to soldiers to keep them alert and awake. In the Vietnam War, amphetamines were widely used by American forces. Use of amphetamine has been sanctioned by some components of the United States Air Force since 1960 and was used by the tactical air forces until the practice was proscribed in 1991.

It is used today, usually in its crystalline sulfate or phosphate form, as a medicine to treat narcolepsy, depression, obesity, Parkinson's disease, and "attention deficit disorder." Because of the risk of addiction, it is prescribed only rarely. It is often used nonmedically to produce a feeling of alertness and wellbeing, to increase muscular activity, and to reduce fatigue and appetite.

Possible side effects include cardiac irregularities and gastric disturbances. Chronic use can result in insomnia, hyperactivity, irritability, and aggression. Prolonged use can result in psychosis or death from overexhaustion or cardiac arrest. Amphetamine-induced psychosis often mimics schizophrenia, with paranoia and hallucinations.

In the United States, amphetamines are a non-narcotic Schedule II controlled substance.

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