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  • L-amphetamine (also known as levoamphetamine) is a central nervous system (CNS) stimulant and medication used in the short-term treatment of ADHD symptoms.

    While the drug does have its medical uses, l-amphetamine can also be abused and lead to dependency and addiction. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and DEA classify it as a schedule II controlled substance which means it has a high potential for abuse.

    If addiction develops and is left untreated, l-amphetamines can lead to a number of physical and psychological conditions.

    Uses Of L-Amphetamine

    Levoamphetamine is classified as a central nervous system stimulant medication used to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, narcolepsy, and obesity. It can increase wakefulness and concentration. It’s approved for those 17 years of age and above.

    Along with dextroamphetamine, the two isomers make up methamphetamines. While it is similar to dextroamphetamine or d-amphetamine, l-amphetamine has greater effects on the cardiovascular system. 

    How Does L-Amphetamine Work?

    L-amphetamine inhibits or stops the activity of the neurotransmitters norepinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine in the brain. For this reason, it’s also known as a dopamine reuptake inhibitor.

    To get rid of the extra neurotransmitters already released in the brain, the drug allows the release of monoamine oxidase to clean them up. 

    But the drug doesn’t simply get rid of all neurotransmitters, it replaces them as well. The l-amphetamines create and regulate those neurotransmitters instead of the brain.

    In its prescription form, l-amphetamine restores the brain’s chemical balance. But when abused, that balance is difficult to achieve.

    Medications With L-Amphetamine

    Levoamphetamine can be found in Adderall XR and Adderall immediate release. The popular ADHD medication consists of 25 % l-amphetamine and 75% d-amphetamine. 

    L-amphetamine can also be found in Evekeo (dextroamphetamine sulfate/levoamphetamine), Dyanavel XR, and Adzenys XR.

    Side Effects Of L-Amphetamine

    Any medication that affects the levels of chemicals in the brain is likely to have side effects. The side effects of l-amphetamine may include

    • nausea
    • headaches
    • tremors/shaking
    • nervousness
    • problems sleeping
    • weight loss
    • decreased appetite
    • agitation
    • increased energy
    • dizziness
    • confusion
    • hallucinations
    • increased blood pressure
    • psychosis
    • blurred vision

    Signs Of L-Amphetamine Abuse

    Signs of l-amphetamine abuse can include:

    • taking Adderall to control fatigue
    • taking more levoamphetamine than prescribed
    • using the drug in a way that’s not prescribed (in high doses or by non-prescribed methods)
    • taking it to stay awake
    • using the medication despite how abuse has caused issues in relationships and daily life 
    • spending lots of time looking for the drug
    • buying and using l-amphetamines or Adderall despite financial or legal issues
    • using the drug despite negative effects to your health and well-being


    Having a dependency on l-amphetamines or Adderall can also be a sign of abuse. If your body can no longer function properly without the amphetamines, it’s likely because it has been taken in higher than normal doses.

    When abused, brain cells become unable to secrete neurotransmitters on their own. The brain has learned to rely on drugs to do the job for it. This may create a chemical dependence that can lead to addiction.

    Withdrawal Symptoms

    If you all of a sudden stop taking l-amphetamines and start feeling ill, you may experience withdrawal symptoms. Symptoms are likely to show up if the drug has been abused or taken for a long period of time. Withdrawal symptoms may include: 

    • fatigue
    • depression
    • anxiety
    • confusion
    • fidgeting
    • increased appetite
    • irritability

    Treatment For L-Amphetamine Addiction

    Treatment for l-amphetamine addiction likely involves two main components: detox support and inpatient or outpatient care.

    Detox Programs

    Detox programs allow those struggling with addiction to withdrawal from drugs in a safe and supervised environment. 

    With medically supervised detox, there is a healthcare provider there to make the unpleasant symptoms more bearable and possibly give you medication should anything need to be treated further.

    Inpatient Or Outpatient Care

    The next step is likely inpatient or outpatient care. 

    Inpatient care includes 24/7 supervision, individual and group therapy, and education on coping strategies and addiction as a disease. Outpatient treatment includes similar recovery services, but you’re able to stay at home when not at the treatment center.

    If you or a loved one is struggling with l-amphetamine abuse or any form of drug abuse, please call our helpline today.

    Written by Ark Behavioral Health Editorial Team
    ©2023 Ark National Holdings, LLC. | All Rights Reserved.
    This page does not provide medical advice.

    Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) - Drug Scheduling
    Food and Drug Administration (FDA) - Adderall
    National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus - Substance use - amphetamines
    National Library of Medicine: PubChem - Levamfetamine

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