Desoxyn (Methamphetamine) - Oral

Warning:

Methamphetamine has a high potential for abuse. Attention should be given to the possibility of people getting methamphetamine for non-therapeutic use or for distributing it to others. This medicine should be prescribed or dispensed sparingly. Misuse of methamphetamine may cause sudden death and severe, negative heart (cardiovascular) events. Sudden death in children and adults with heart conditions has also been reported in association with the use of CNS stimulants at normal doses.

What Is Desoxyn?

Desoxyn (methamphetamine) is a prescription drug used to treat attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It is a highly controlled drug that is classified as a schedule II drug. Desoxyn belongs to a class of drugs called stimulants. It is only available with a prescription.

Methamphetamine excites nerves in your brain and spinal cord. It stimulates brain action and causes natural substances in your body—mainly dopamine (the "feel-good" hormone)—to be released. Desoxyn also blocks the reuptake and breakdown of these substances, which changes how much of them are in your brain.

Drug Facts

Generic Name: Methamphetamine
Brand Name: Desoxyn
Drug Availability: Prescription
Administration Route: Oral
Therapeutic Classification: CNS Stimulant
Available Generically: Yes
Controlled Substance: Schedule II
Active Ingredient: Methamphetamine
Dosage Form(s): Tablet

What Is Desoxyn Used For?

Desoxyn is a drug used to treat (ADHD) in people aged 6 years and older. It helps to control ADHD symptoms like short attention spans, being easily distracted, and hyperactivity.

Desoxyn should not be used to treat fatigue or to replace rest in people who do not have ADHD.

How to Take Desoxyn

Take Desoxyn once or twice daily by mouth as directed by your healthcare provider. 

Take the medication at least 30 minutes before acidic foods, juices, or vitamin C to avoid a drug-food interaction.

This medicine may cause sleep problems like insomnia. Use Desoxyn early in the day. Avoid taking it late in the evening.

Follow all the instructions on your prescription carefully. Methamphetamine has a risk of abuse and misuse. If you take this drug for a long time, it can become habit-forming, which means your body may become used to and reliant on it. Misusing Desoxyn can cause serious heart problems, including sudden death.

Storage

Store Desoxyn at room temperature (68 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit or 20 to 25 degrees Celsius) and away from light. Do not store your medication in the bathroom.  

Safely store Desoxyn away from children, pets, and other people. You may want to use a lockbox to keep your medication safe.

Do not pour unused or expired medication down the drain or flush them down the toilet. Ask your pharmacist or healthcare provider about the best ways to dispose of your medicine. Check for drug disposal boxes in your area. You can visit the FDA's website to find out where and how to discard all your unused and expired drugs.

If you travel with Desoxyn, get familiar with your final destination's regulations. Make a copy of your Desoxyn prescription. Keep your medication in its original container from your pharmacy with your name on the label. Ask your pharmacist or provider if you have any questions about traveling with your medicine.

Off-Label Uses

Desoxyn is used off-label to treat daytime sleepiness caused by narcolepsy and severe obesity.

How Long Does Desoxyn Take to Work?

Desoxyn is absorbed quickly from the gastrointestinal tract and starts to work almost immediately.

What Are the Side Effects of Desoxyn?

This is not a complete list of Desoxyn side effects, and others may occur. A healthcare provider can advise you on side effects. If you experience other effects, contact your pharmacist or healthcare provider. You may report side effects to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) at fda.gov/medwatch or 1-800-FDA-1088.

Common Side Effects

Some common side effects of methamphetamine include but are not limited to:

Severe Side Effects

Strokes, heart attacks, and sudden death have happened in children and adults taking Desoxyn, especially people with heart problems. Call 911 if your symptoms feel life-threatening or if you think you have a medical emergency.

Get medical help immediately if you have:

Abuse potential: Methamphetamine can become habit-forming. Misuse may cause severe heart issues, including sudden death.

Long-Term Side Effects

Using amphetamines for extended periods has been linked to:

Report Side Effects

Desoxyn may cause other side effects. Call your healthcare provider if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.

If you experience a serious side effect, you or your provider may send a report to the FDA's MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting Program or by phone (1-800-332-1088).

Dosage: How Much Desoxyn Should I Take?

Drug Content Provided and Reviewed by IBM Micromedex®

The dose of this medicine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of this medicine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.

The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.

  • For oral dosage form (tablets):
    • For ADHD:
      • Adults and children 6 years of age and older—At first, 5 milligrams (mg) 1 or 2 times a day. Your doctor may adjust your dose if needed.
      • Children younger than 6 years of age—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.
    • For weight loss:
      • Adults and children 12 years of age and older—5 milligrams (mg) 30 minutes before each meal.
      • Children younger than 12 years of age—Use is not recommended.

Modifications

The following changes (modifications) should be kept in mind when using Desoxyn:

Severe allergic reaction: Avoid using Desoxyn if you have a known allergy to it or its ingredients. Ask your pharmacist or provider for a complete list of the ingredients if you're unsure.

Pregnancy: In animal studies, Desoxyn was found to negatively affect the fetus. Avoid the use of Desoxyn during pregnancy. If you plan to become pregnant or are pregnant, talk to your provider about the benefits and risks of taking Desoxyn during your pregnancy.

Breastfeeding: Amphetamines are excreted in breast milk. People taking amphetamines should be advised to avoid breastfeeding. Talk with your provider if you plan to breastfeed and weigh the benefits and risks of taking Desoxyn while you are nursing. You can also discuss the different ways to feed your baby while you are taking this medication.

Adults over 65: Clinical studies have not included enough people in this age group to see whether they respond differently to the medication than younger adults do. Older adults who have multiple medical conditions or take several medications should use caution when taking Desoxyn.

Children: The long-term effects of using Desoxyn in children have not been established. It is not for use in children under the age of 6 years.

Missed Dose

Take the missed dose once you remember. If it is too close to your next dose, skip the missed dose. Go back to your regular dosing frequency. Do not take extra or "double up" the quantity of your medication.

Try to find ways to help yourself remember to routinely keep your appointments and take your medication. If you miss too many doses, Desoxyn might be less effective at treating your condition.

Overdose: What Happens If I Take Too Much Desoxyn?

Overdosing on Desoxyn (methamphetamine) may cause serotonin syndrome, organ failure, muscle breakdown (rhabdomyolysis), or death. Overdose symptoms may include seizures, tremors, weakness on one side of the body, and fast, slow or irregular heartbeat.

What Happens If I Overdose on Desoxyn?

If you think you or someone else may have overdosed on Desoxyn, call your provider or the Poison Control Center (1-800-222-1222).

If someone collapses or is not breathing after taking Desoxyn, call 911 immediately.

Precautions

Drug Content Provided and Reviewed by IBM Micromedex®

It is very important that your doctor check your progress at regular visits to make sure the medicine is working properly and to check for unwanted effects.

You should not use this medicine if you have used a drug for depression called an MAO inhibitor (MAOI) such as Eldepryl®, Marplan®, Nardil®, or Parnate® in the past 14 days.

This medicine may cause serious heart or blood vessel problems. This may be more likely to occur in patients who have a family history of heart disease. Check with your doctor right away if you have chest pain, trouble breathing, or fainting while taking this medicine.

Tell your doctor right away if you or your family notice any unusual changes in behavior, such as an increase in aggression, hostility, agitation, or irritability. Tell your doctor if you have hallucinations or any unusual thoughts, especially if they are new or getting worse quickly.

If you have been using this medicine for a long time and you think you may have become mentally or physically dependent on it, check with your doctor. Some signs of dependence may be:

  • A strong desire or need to continue taking the medicine.
  • A need to increase the dose to receive the same effects.
  • Withdrawal effects after stopping the medicine such as mental depression, nausea or vomiting, stomach cramps or pain, trembling, or unusual tiredness or weakness.

This medicine may cause some people to feel a false sense of wellbeing or to become dizzy, lightheaded, or less alert than they are normally. It may also cause blurred vision or other vision problems. Make sure you know how you react to this medicine before you drive, use machines, or do anything else that could be dangerous if you are dizzy or not alert.

This medicine may cause slow growth. If your child is using this medicine, the doctor will need to keep track of your child's height and weight.

This medicine may cause Raynaud phenomenon, which is a problem with blood circulation in the fingers or toes. Tell your doctor if you have tingling or pain, a cold feeling, paleness, or skin color changes in the fingers or toes, especially when exposed to cold. Call your doctor right away if you have unexplained sores or ulcers on your fingers or toes.

Check with your doctor right away if you have anxiety, restlessness, a fast heartbeat, fever, sweating, muscle spasms, twitching, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or see or hear things that are not there. These may be symptoms of a serious condition called serotonin syndrome. Your risk may be higher if you also take certain other medicines that affect serotonin levels in your body.

Before you have any medical tests, tell the medical doctor in charge that you are taking this medicine. The results of some tests may be affected by this medicine.

Do not take other medicines unless they have been discussed with your doctor. This includes prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicines, herbal or vitamin supplements, and medicine for appetite control, asthma, colds, cough, hayfever, or sinus problems.

What Are the Reasons I Shouldn't Take Desoxyn?

Do not take Desoxyn:

  • If you are hypersensitive to amphetamine or any part of its formulation
  • During or within 14 days after taking monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), including linezolid or methylene blue


Do not take Desoxyn if you have any of these health conditions:

What Other Medications Interact With Desoxyn?

Combining certain medicines with methamphetamine may increase side effects or lower how well either drug works. Avoid taking Desoxyn with:

AdreView is a drug used to test for tumors, but amphetamines lower how well it works. This makes it more difficult for your provider to test for tumors. Do not take methamphetamine until at least seven days after each dose of AdreView.

MAOIs (a drug used to treat depression) and kratom (an herb) can make methamphetamines more powerful. They increase the risk of severe Desoxyn side effects, including very high blood pressure.  

What Medications Are Similar?

Some similar medications to Desoxyn that treat ADHD include:

Methamphetamine is not the "go-to" stimulant drug that most providers prescribe to treat ADHD. It is rarely prescribed because of its negative side effects. It is also more potent and addictive than other amphetamines.

Other treatment options like Vyvanse, Adderall, and Dexedrine are very effective with fewer side effects. 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is Desoxyn used for?

    Desoxyn is a stimulant drug used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

  • What should I do if I miss a dose of Desoxyn?

    Take the missed dose once you remember. If it is too close to your next dose, skip the missed dose. Go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take extra doses.

  • When is the best time to take Desoxyn?

    Take Desoxyn early in the day and avoid taking your dose at night, as it can cause sleep problems.

  • What are some side effects of Desoxyn?

    Some common side effects of methamphetamine include:

    • Headache
    • Dry mouth
    • Weight loss
    • Constipation
    • Anxiety
    • Trouble sleeping
    • Nausea
    • Hair loss
    • Dizziness
    • Diarrhea
    • Bad taste in your mouth
    • Lack of appetite
  • How long does it take for Desoxyn to work?

    Desoxyn begins to work almost immediately after you take it.

  • Does Desoxyn interact with food?

    Yes, it does. Take it at least 30 minutes before acidic foods, juices, or vitamin C to avoid drug-food interaction.

How Can I Stay Healthy While Taking Desoxyn?

Living with ADHD can be challenging, but it is manageable. Staying healthy mentally and physically is essential.

If you or your child are coping with ADHD, behavioral therapy for you and your child and organizational and social skills training can help.

Studies have shown that biofeedback can be a valuable therapy to help support the development of attention in adults and children.   

There is also evidence that ADHD may have roots in adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). While it's not the root cause for everyone, addressing trauma with a licensed therapist can be essential in the healing process. Talk to your or your child's provider about different approaches and treatment options for ADHD.

It's important to note that several medical conditions can be mistaken for ADHD, such as low iron levels or hypothyroidism. Studies have shown that sleep disturbances over time can also increase a child's odds of developing ADHD. Your provider will need to rule out these conditions first to make a definitive diagnosis of ADHD.   

Your provider can talk to your about sleep hygiene and rule out or address any sleep disorders—for example, enlarged adenoids blocking a child's airway during sleep, sleep apnea, or restless leg syndrome—before diagnosing ADHD. Sleep problems can also make attention symptoms of ADHD worse.

Other disorders that need to be ruled out before making an ADHD diagnosis include anxiety, depression, learning disorders (e.g., dyslexia), and vision or hearing problems.

Your provider must also check for any heart conditions before prescribing a stimulant medication for ADHD. Those medications can worsen pre-existing heart conditions or cause sudden death. Your provider will want to monitor you and your child for any heart conditions during treatment with stimulant medications.

Pay attention to your blood sugar levels and your blood pressure. Check them as often as possible and let your provider know your readings.

Ask your provider before taking over-the-counter (OTC) medications or supplements that can increase your blood pressure, including:

  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen
  • Cough and cold medicine (e.g., pseudoephedrine)
  • Certain herbs 
  • Diet pills

Call your healthcare provider if your mood changes. Call the National Alliance on Mental Illness HelpLine at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264) if you need mental health support. If you are having suicidal thoughts, contact your healthcare provider right away. You can also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (Lifeline) at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or text the Crisis Text Line (text HELLO to 741741). 

Medical Disclaimer

Verywell Health's drug information is meant for educational purposes only and is not intended as a replacement for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a healthcare provider. Consult your healthcare provider before taking any new medication(s). IBM Watson Micromedex provides some of the drug content, as indicated on the page.

5 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  3. Tinello D, Kliegel M, Zuber S. Does heart rate variability biofeedback enhance executive functions across the lifespan? A systematic review. J Cogn Enhanc. 2022;6(1):126-142.

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By Queen Buyalos, PharmD
Queen Buyalos is a pharmacist and freelance medical writer. She takes pride in advocating for cancer prevention, overall health, and mental health education. Queen enjoys counseling and educating patients about drug therapy and translating complex ideas into simple language.