Early Use In The United States

Amphetamines were initially synthesized in 1887, with methamphetamine being developed approximately thirty years later. The rise in the popularity of the amphetamines parallels that experienced during the introduction of cocaine. Exaggerated publicity and fallacious claims about amphetamines, combined with medical optimism concerning potential uses and a lack of understanding of abuse, contributed to a dramatic increase in public interest in amphetamines. In 1933, Central Nervous System stimulant actions of amphetamines were reported, about the same time that reports of their effectiveness in treating narcolepsy and Parkinson's disease were released. When the American Medical Association (AMA) approved the use of amphetamines for these disorders, a mild warning was added that ''continuous doses higher than recommended'' might cause ''restlessness and sleeplessness,'' but physicians were assured that

''no serious reactions had been observed.'' Between 1932 and 1946 the pharmaceutical industry developed more than three dozen generally accepted clinical uses for amphetamines, among them the treatment of schizophrenia, morphine and codeine addiction, tobacco smoking, heart block, head injuries, infantile cerebral palsy, radiation sickness, low blood pressure, seasickness, and persistent hiccups. It was not until several decades later that the addictive properties and psychiatric complications of amphetamines were fully recognized by the medical community.

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