Amphetamine History

There is a long history of amphetamine use.

The drug amphetamine dates back to the late 1800s in 1887 when a Romanian chemist by the name of Lazar Edeleanu synthesized the drug.  Amphetamine was then synthesized from a compound  that was derived from ephedrine which was a chemical isolated from a plant called the Ma-Huang.  The series of compounds that Ma-Huange included such as ephedrine would soon be used in a number of pharmacological elements for various purposes.

It wasn’t until 1927 that amphetamine was actually used in pharmacology for a medical purpose.  During this time, pharmacologist Gordon Alles used amphetamine, a synthesized version of ephedrine on himself to determine how the body would react and what the drug could be used for.  He decided that the drug would work well for things such as asthma and other lung conditions as well as for helping people to stay alert.

In 1933, Smith & Kline began to sell amphetamine as a base drug to be used in inhalers.  The drug was initially combined into a medication and marketed under the name Benzedrine which was used as a decongestant but could also be used for other purposes as well.  At this point, amphetamine was still not widely recognized in the medical world and was not widely used in medications but was beginning to gain ground.

Around 1935, a research study was conducted to determine if amphetamine was safe for use.  The study consisted of 55 hospital works being given doses on Benzodrine, the marketed formula of amphetamine.  The users were later asked how the drug made them feel and what the side effects of amphetamine were.  Most users reacted positively by alerting to the feeling of being less tired and more exhilarated.

Following this study, amphetamine was supplied to soldiers to increase their alertness during World War II.  The drug was used very extensively during this time and continued to be marketed under the name Benzodrine.  It wasn’t until 1965 that the amphetamine based inhalers were limited to prescription use only due to the wide potential for abuse that was determined after so many years of the drug being available on the market.

Today, amphetamine is not a widely used drug but it is found in many controlled substances that are used in the medical field.  Amphetamine is used in Adderall and other similar medications that are used for those suffering from ADD and ADHD.  Though still widely used in certain military troops around the world as well as by college students, there are very limited medical and legal uses of amphetamine due to the extremely dangerous and potentially deadly consequences which can occur with continued amphetamine use.

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