Methamphetamine and MDMA: 'Safe' drugs of abuse

Allana M. Krolikowski, Alex Koyfman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Methamphetamine and MDMA have been called safe drugs of abuse. Worldwide there is an increased consumption of these drugs, which has become a focus of research in South Africa. As the number of methamphetamine users has increased in many African countries, it is essential that emergency care practitioners are able to diagnose and manage intoxication with methamphetamine, MDMA, and other derivatives. The most common presentations include restlessness, agitation, hypertension, tachycardia, and headache while hyperthermia, hyponatraemia, and rhabdomyolysis are among the most common serious complications. Most deaths are secondary to hyperthermia complicated by multiple organ failure. A number of laboratory analyses should be obtained if locally available. We provide a review of the current recommended general and specific management approaches. Benzodiazepines are the first line therapy for hyperthermia, agitation, critical hypertension, and seizures. Patients with serious complications are best managed in an intensive care unit if available. Emergency centres should create protocols and/or further train staff in the recognition and management of intoxication with these 'not so safe' drugs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)34-38
Number of pages5
JournalAfrican Journal of Emergency Medicine
Volume4
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2014

Keywords

  • Emergency medicine
  • Intoxication
  • MDMA
  • Methamphetamine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Gerontology
  • Emergency
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Critical Care

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