Amphetamine is the parent compound for a class of drugs that have the original structure modified to obtain slightly different results. Methamphetamine is the most common amphetamine in the illegal drug community (although a version is sold by prescription) because it is the easiest for non-chemists to manufacture.
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"Left-handed" vs "Right-handed"
Amphetamines are sometimes classified as "left-handed" or "right-handed" based on their molecular structure. The methyl group can be attached on either side of the molecule, resulting in two different types of molecules that are mirror images of each other. The "right-handed" molecules (dextro-isomers) are far more powerful than "left-handed" molecules (levo-isomers).
The prescription forms of amphetamines are:
- No longer manufactured and sold, it was used in nasal inhalers under the trade name Benzedrine.
- Regular amphetamine is a mixture of right-handed (dextro) and left-handed (levo) versions of the molecule. Dextroamphetamine is the right-handed type. It is more potent than the mixture. It is marketed as Dexedrine.
- Amphetamine mixtures
- Various mixes of left and right-handed amphetamine can lead to slightly different properties. Along with this, the salt form, either sulfate or saccharide, can give further modifications. One such mix is marketed as Adderall. All of the salts are converted to active amphetamine in the body, but at various rates which may allow for milder, or extended effects.
- The only commercial type of this is Desoxyn, and only the right-handed version has amphetamine effects.
- This compound is much less habit forming than basic amphetamine and is prescribed for weight loss as Ionomin or Adipex-P. The drug is usually bound to a resin to make it last longer and to help prevent abuse.