Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology

2018 Edition
| Editors: Jeffrey S. Kreutzer, John DeLuca, Bruce Caplan


  • Elizabeth K. Vernon
  • JoAnn Tschanz
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-57111-9_1755


Dexedrine; Dextro-amphetamine; d-amphetamine


Amphetamine refers to a group of synthetic chemicals with psychoactive stimulant effects. Amphetamines are similar in molecular structure to the catecholamine neurotransmitters, norepinephrine and dopamine. They compete with the endogenous monoamine (norepinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin) transporters to be transported into the nerve. Once inside the presynaptic terminal, amphetamine displaces the monoamines from the cytosolic pool, which reverses the direction of the reuptake transporter and thereby increases synaptic concentrations of monoamine neurotransmitters (Heal et al. 2014). There are two forms, dextro-amphetamine (d-amphetamine) and levo-amphetamine (l-amphetamine), of which d-amphetamine is the more active form. Chemical modifications to the basic structure have led to derivatives with even more potent psychoactive properties. For example, addition of a second methyl group to the chemical structure creates...

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References and Readings

  1. Feldman, R. S., Meyer, J. S., & Quenzer, L. F. (1997). Stimulants: Amphetamine and Cocaine. In Principles of neuropsychoparhmacology (pp. 549–568). Sunderland: Sinauer Associates, Inc.Google Scholar
  2. Freberg, L. (2014). Discovering behavioral neuroscience (pp. 107–108). Boston: Cenage Learning.Google Scholar
  3. Heal, D. J., Smith, S. L., Gosden, J., & Nutt, D. J. (2013). Amphetamine, past and present – A pharmacological and clinical perspective. Journal of Psychopharmacology (Oxford, England), 27(6), 479–496.  https://doi.org/10.1177/0269881113482532.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Iversen, L. L., Iversen, S. D., Bloom, F. E., & Roth, R. H. (2009). Psychostimulants. In Introduction to Neuropsychopharmacology (pp. 447–472). New York: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Meyer, J. S., & Quenzer, L. F. (2005). Psychomotor stimulants: Cocaine and the amphetamines. In Psychopharmacoogy. Drugs, the brain and behavior (pp. 292–300). Sunderland: Sinauer Associates, Inc.Google Scholar
  6. Sulzer, D., Sonders, M. S., Poulsen, N. W., & Galli, A. (2005). Mechanisms of neurotransmitter release by amphetamines: A review. Progress in Neurobiology, 75(6), 406–433.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pneurobio.2005.04.003.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elizabeth K. Vernon
    • 1
  • JoAnn Tschanz
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUtah State UniversityLoganUSA
  2. 2.Center for Epidemiologic StudiesUtah State UniversityLoganUSA