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Methamphetamine Addiction Treatment and Rehabilitation

How Long Does Amphetamine Stay in Your System?

There are many OTC medications that contain Amphetamine as their active ingredient. There are over 350 medicines that can test positive for amphetamine. In the form of a separate drug entity, Amphetamine is a potent stimulant of central nervous system. It is used for the treatment of Narcolepsy, ADHD, and obesity. The drug was discovered in 1880’s in the form of two enantiomers, Dextroamphetamine and Levoamphetamine.  There are many recreational uses of Amphetamine. It is taken as a cognitive enhancer, euphoriant, and aphrodisiac. It is associated with many adverse effects like fatigue, muscles breakdown, paranoia, delusions, and hallucinations. Amphetamine has a high potential for abuse and addiction. It is important to study the pharmacodynamics of the drug to know about its clearance mechanisms from the body.

How long does Amphetamine stay in your system?

The common forms of Amphetamine are capsules, tablets, or pills, which are orally administered. Less frequent forms include powder and liquid, which can be snorted or injected to achieve a rapid and potent high. The frequent use results in the development of dependence on the drug. Psychological dependence is more common than physical dependence.

The effects of a single dose last for about 2-4 hours. The residual effects can last even longer. Peak blood levels of amphetamine are reached within 3 hours of the last dose of l-amphetamine. The metabolites of amphetamine peak at about 12 hours after drug administration. The half-life of d-amphetamine is about 9.77 to 11 hours. After the intravenous injection, the half life of amphetamine becomes slightly longer to about 12.2 hours.

Factors that influence how long Amphetamine stays in your system:

For a precise estimation of half-life of the drug, it is important to consider a number of factors that can influence the rate of excretion of Amphetamine. Examples of important variables are individual attributes, doses, and the frequency.

Individual Factors: Age, pH level, co-administered substances, food intake, and genetics play an important role in determining the clearance rate of the drug.

  • Age:Children tend to clear the drug in a shorter time duration compared to adults. The research studies have confirmed a difference of 1 to 2 hours. Elderly people can take more time than healthy young adults. It is due to the age-related conditions and medications in use for treating those conditions.
  • Body Composition:It also plays an important role in determining the clearance time. A high muscle mass and low-fat content promote the Amphetamine excretion. On the other hand, a high-fat content and low muscle mass can prolong the duration of clearance. There is a subtle effect of weight and height also. A larger individual shows a quicker elimination compared to a smaller individual.
  • Co-administered Agents:There is a list of drugs that can affect the metabolism of Amphetamine. They do it by altering the enzymes concerned with Amphetamine metabolism. The Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors are said to prolong the duration of excretion of Amphetamine by inhibiting the functions of hepatic enzymes.
  • Food Intake: It is suggested that food intake does alter the absorption of Levoamphetamine and Dextroamphetamine. On an empty stomach, the peak concentrations are attained within 5.5 hours in comparison to about 7 hours in the presence of a high-fat meal. So it is important to consider the beverages or type of food consumed after the last dose of Amphetamine.
  • Gastrointestinal pH and urinary pH:A high GI or urinary pH is an indication of alkalinity. This will result in non-ionization of Amphetamine molecules and thus a slower excretion. On the other side, acidic pH can enhance the rate of elimination from the system.
  • Genetics:The genetics of an individual can influence as for how quickly Amphetamine is metabolized and excreted out of the system. Some people are termed as ultra-rapid metabolizers due to the presence of gene copies concerned with a fast metabolism. On the other hand are the slow-metabolizers which lack the required genes for a faster and efficient enzymatic system.

Dosages: The high doses will require more enzymes for the hepatic metabolism and as a result, a number of metabolites will be formed. So a prolonged retention, distribution, and a slower elimination of Amphetamine will occur in cases of high doses.

Frequency of Administration: The research studies have confirmed that frequent users will require more time to eliminate the drug from the systemic circulation. The infrequent users can metabolize the drug at comparatively faster rates.

Amphetamine absorption, metabolism, and excretion:

The modes of amphetamine administration include oral ingestion, insufflations, and intravenous injections. The bioavailability with the oral route varies according to the GI pH. It is efficiently absorbed through the gastrointestinal lining and the bioavailability of dextroamphetamine is more than 75%. The drug actively passes through the lipid membranes and distribute to all the tissues of the body. Approximately 15 to 40 % of the Amphetamine binds to the plasma proteins.

A number of hepatic enzymes act on Amphetamine to convert it into its metabolic products. Some of these metabolites include 4-hydroxynorephedrine, 4-hydroxyamphetamine, benzoic acid4-hydroxyphenylacetone, phenylacetone, norephedrine, and hippuric acid. Norephedrine, 4hydroxynorephedrine, and 4hydroxyamphetamine are the active sympathomimetics.  The major metabolic pathways for the production of the metabolites are aliphatic alpha and beta hydroxylation, aromatic para-hydroxylation, N-oxidation, deamination, and N-dealkylation.

Amphetamine gets eliminated through the kidneys. About 30-40% of the drug gets excreted in an unchanged form. The amount of excretion is further dependent on the pH of urine. When the urine is basic, a less amount excreted as Amphetamine exists in the free base form in alkaline pH. It mostly takes 2 days to clear the drug from the system.

Different types of Amphetamine drug tests:

There are many tests that can be utilized for testing Amphetamine in the body system. Some of the testing modalities include urine tests, hair tests, blood tests, and salivary tests. The detection period is quite variable among individuals depending on many factors like physical conditions, fluid intake, and method of use of drug.

  • Urine Tests:

This is the routinely employed modality of testing Amphetamine. The reason is the ease of collection and analysis of samples. Moreover, as the route of excretion is the kidneys so the window of detection is longer in cases of urinary tests. The clean-catch urine samples are collected and sent to the laboratory. The detection period of amphetamine is about 2 days, although in some cases it can extend up to 4 days. The initial cut-off value is 1000ng/ml.

  • Salivary tests:

It is another very useful modality in the case of Amphetamine. An adequate amount of oral fluid is collected and sent to the laboratory. The drug can be detected within few hours of the last consumption. With the oral administration of Amphetamine, salivary tests are more accurate. The detectability period stays up to 1 to 5 days, which is further based on the administered dose. The test loses its accuracy in cases of IV administration. Many new techniques are under research that can improve the precision of salivary tests.

  • Blood Tests:

These tests are not routinely performed for Amphetamine. There are reserved for acute or critical cases of overdose or intoxication. The advantage is the early detection and high accuracy associated with these tests. However, the biggest disadvantage is a short period of detection of about 12 hours. Blood tests are non-convenient as they are invasive and repeated sampling can be uncomfortable for the patient.

  • Hair Samples:

About 20-50 hair follicles from the head of a patient are collected and sent for analysis. The hair follicles should be at least 3 cm in length. The drug levels in hair samples correspond to the ingested amounts. This test cannot be utilized for detecting the recent ingestion as the drug takes some time to get accumulated. However, it has a long duration of detection and stays for up to 90 days. Hair testing is usually reserved for legal and postmortem cases.

Tips to clear Amphetamine from the system faster:

There are many strategies that can be adopted for a faster clearance of the drug from the system.

  • Stop the use of the drug as it is the first step that can ensure Amphetamine can be out of the system within a short duration. Taking even a small amount of Amphetamine can significantly prolong the clearance time.
  • Certain supplements that act as inducers of hepatic enzymes can augment the rate of Amphetamine metabolism. However, these should be taken after a proper consultation with a doctor. Any other drug in concomitant use should also be discussed.
  • Take ample amount of water as it can improve the excretion of the drug. The basic mechanism is the increase in the urinary flow rate.
  • Exercise can significantly improve the rate of clearance. Cardio is more useful in this case as Amphetamine tends to accumulate in the fat tissues. With a regular exercise, not only the blood circulation through liver and kidney gets improved but also the mobilization of the drug from accumulated stores.