Main type

Desoxyn is a stimulant drug, meaning that it increases the amount of activity in the central nervous system. It is the brand name and the main legal prescription form of the drug Methamphetamine, which is better known in its street form as Crystal Meth, Meth or Ice.

Desoxyn (Methamphetamine Hydrochloride) is manufactured legally and its principal medical use is the treatment of ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). ADHD is a behavioural disorder that is most common in children, and has also been known as ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder). The exact causes of ADHD are not known fully, but the main effects are an inability to concentrate, impulsive behaviour, difficulty following instructions or behaving as required, and fidgeting excessively. This results in problems learning, taking part in activities and socialising, and the resultant behaviour can be perceived as ‘naughty’ or boisterous.

ADHD is generally first noticed during childhood but it can often persist to some degree during adulthood.

As a generalised condition, ADHD has been known about in some form for hundreds of years, but it was first referred to as ADHD in 1987. The use of stimulants to treat the condition were also experimented with long before the advent of the current terminology. In 1937 an American doctor called Charles Bradley performed a series of experiments on children suffering from behavioural problems of the type that would today be called ADHD.

He discovered that the performance in terms of schoolwork and behaviour was immediately and substantially improved through the use of Benzedrine, an amphetamine which was also later abused.

Desoxyn was first created in 1942 by US pharmacologists and has since been used for a number of purposes – not only to treat ADHD, but as a slimming tablet for the very obese, as a treatment for the sleep disorder narcolepsy, and for depression which doesn’t respond to other forms of treatment. The exact reasons why it works for ADHD treatment is not understood, but it relates to the way that Desoxyn changes the balance of neurotransmitters in the brain.

While Desoxyn is essentially the same chemical as the illicit drug Crystal Meth, and controversy has surrounded its use for this very reason, there are many crucial differences.

However, Desoxyn remains an addictive drug and is open to abuse by both prescription users and ‘street’ methamphetamine users.

Other Types

Desoxyn is the brand name and pharmaceutical grade form of Methamphetamine.

Methamphetamine is also a potent and highly addictive street drug, commonly known as Crystal Meth. Other street names for the drug include Crystal Methamphetamine, Meth, Ice, Crystal, Tina, Glass, Crank, Tweak, Poor Man’s Cocaine and Blade.

While Crystal Meth is essentially the same chemical as Desoxyn there are a number of important differences.

Firstly Desoxyn is the pure form of Methamphetamine, whereas Crystal Meth contains a wide range of harmful additives and adulterants. Secondly, Desoxyn is produced in a safe, sterile and regulated way by a legitimate pharmaceutical company, while Crystal Meth is created in underground home labs using a wide variety of different chemical processes to arrive at the end product.

Finally, prescribed Desoxyn is given out in controlled tablet doses, while Crystal Meth is a crystalline substance that is smoked, injected or swallowed in much larger doses.

Previous trade names for pharmaceutical grade Methamphetamine include Pervitin, Methedrine, Syndrox and Anadrex.

Major Effects

Desoxyn is a stimulant, meaning that it increases activity in the brain and elsewhere in the central nervous system.

When used for legitimate pharmaceutical means for the prescription treatment of ADHD, Desoxyn can improve concentration, lengthen attention spans and improve behaviour.

As a ‘diet pill’, the drug can help patients who have struggled to lose weight in other ways do so by reducing their appetite and speeding up their metabolism.

When taken as prescribed, Desoxyn is generally effective and relatively free of serious side effects. However it has a high potential for abuse and can be powerfully addictive when misused, particularly amongst individuals with a history of addiction.

When abused, users may take higher dosages than prescribed, or take them more frequently to get a high from the extra dopamine that is pumped into the brain. Before long, the individual will steadily build up tolerance to the drug and need more and more to get the same effects, while at the same time gaining physical and psychological dependency on Desoxyn.

Desoxyn is also abused by street users of Crystal Methamphetamine for the euphoric feelings it generates, enhanced confidence and its stimulant properties.

Abuse of Methamphetamine severely disrupts the balance of chemicals in the brain. When taken in high doses, physical effects can include hyperactivity, loss of appetite, an abnormally fast or irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure and insomnia. After-effects include depression, irritability, fatigue and anxiety, and this in turn can lead to further abuse.

Abuse also carries the risk of an overdose, potentially resulting in a fatal heart attack. Long-term abuse of Desoxyn or other forms of Methamphetamine can lead to delusional thinking, psychosis, damage to internal organs, tremors and a range of other unpleasant physiological and psychological effects.

Production countries

Desoxyn is manufactured legally in the US for prescription use by international pharmaceutical group Lundbeck, following the Danish-based firm’s acquisition of the drug’s sole manufacturer, Ovation Pharmaceuticals.

The US is also the primary consumer of the prescription drug. In some countries the law does not permit prescription use of Desoxyn (Methamphetamine), while in others it is technically legal for prescription use, but not available.

In some instances these legitimate supplies of Desoxyn are diverted to the black market, predominantly in the US, by illicit means. Thefts from pharmacists and supply depots occur, while in other instances it may be illicitly sold or supplied by pharmacy workers and others with access. These supplies of Desoxyn may then be sold on the street by drug dealers along with other illicit drugs.

Because of the ambiguity surrounding diagnosis of ADHD, some teenagers may be able to duplicitously acquire prescriptions of Desoxyn in order to abuse them, though many doctors are now highly aware of these abuse risks. In other cases individuals may forge prescriptions, or buy the drug from those who have been prescribed it.

However, because of the relatively low doses involved and the difficulties involved with smoking, snorting or otherwise taking Desoxyn to get a high, illegally produced Crystal Meth is the most commonly abused form of Methamphetamine.

Crystal Methamphetamine is often made in makeshift labs in residential properties, using chemical synthesis from elements of a variety of easily obtainable household products. Such production is highly dangerous, and is not only toxic but can be extremely explosive. The resulting drugs are also usually toxic, and full of impurities.

It is also manufactured by much larger illegal labs operated by organised criminals.

Facts and stats


  • Desoxyn is a stimulant and part of the Amphetamine group of drugs.
  • It is the legal and pure form of Methamphetamine – known on the street as Crystal Meth.
  • Desoxyn has a number of legitimate pharmaceutical uses and is available on prescription in the US. These uses include the treatment of the behavioural disorder ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), Narcolepsy, extreme cases of obesity and in rare cases of unresponsive clinical depression.
  • The drug is potentially very addictive and abuse is common, so in many cases it is only prescribed where other treatments fail.
  • Common side effects include nausea, appetite loss, Diarrhoea and anxiety.
  • Desoxyn was first produced in 1942 by Abbot Laboratories. In the early 21st Century the rights to the drugs manufacture were bought by Ovation Pharmaceuticals, who were taken over by Lundbeck in 2009.
  • When abused, the drug’s use can create both physical and psychological dependencies in the individual. The individual will not only crave the drug physically because of the unpleasant withdrawal symptoms, but they will feel compelled to take it, further enhancing the addiction.
  • Upon cessation of use there are a number of withdrawal effects including depression and mood swings, fatigue, sleep difficulties, nausea and other unpleasant physiological symptoms.
  • Some withdrawal effects can last many months after quitting the drug.
  • Desoxyn is illegal in the US without a prescription. It is a schedule II controlled substance. In many other countries Methamphetamine is not available on prescription and is illegal in all forms.


  • Desoxyn tablets are available on prescription in the form of packs of 5mg tablets.
  • Its principal use is to treat ADHD in children over the age of six.
  • In a 2009 US study of drug abuse in schools, 1.6% of students in the 8th grade said that they had taken Methamphetamine in one form or another at some point in their life. 1% had taken it in the past year.
  • In the same study, 2.8% of 10th grade students reported using Methamphetamine at some point. 1.6% had used it in the past year.
  • 2.4% of 12th grade students had taken the drug at some point in their lives. 1.2% had taken it in past year.
  • 1.2 million Americans over the age of 12 were estimated to have taken Methamphetamine in 2008.
  • When taken orally, the effects of Desoxyn can be felt within 10-20 minutes. If prepared for smoking or injection, the effects occur within just a few seconds. This is because the drug enters the bloodstream faster through these methods. Desoxyn is intended to be taken orally for prescription use.
  • In 2010 the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) reported the seizure of 2,067 KG of illegal Methamphetamine. In 1986 this figure was just 235 KG.
  • According to a survey carried out by KCI, a US organisation that campaigns against Methamphetamine, users of the drug are predominantly young. 24% of respondents were under 18, 35% were aged between 18 and 23, and 19% were 23-30.

Addiction Signs

Individuals who abuse Desoxyn can be categorised roughly in two ways. On one side are those who have been prescribed the medication for ADHD or another condition and have subsequently become addicted to it. And on the other are recreational Methamphetamine users who have acquired it through illicit means. For this latter group, Desoxyn may merely form one available avenue of a wider Methamphetamine habit which also encompasses illegally produced Crystal Methamphetamine.

Addiction in prescription users most often occurs when they opt to increase their dosage without consulting a doctor, in response to increased tolerance to the drug. It may also occur as a result of them using it in ways for which it is not prescribed, for example to increase alertness during periods of tiredness, or to get a ‘buzz’.

Abuse of prescribed Desoxyn may be evident if supplies of the medicine reduce faster than would normally be expected. The individual may also appear tense, anxious, depressed or fatigued when not taking the drug, alternating with periods of intense energy and euphoria when they have taken a substantial dose. They may also have trouble sleeping, appear to have lost their appetite or exhibit uncharacteristic behaviours, including aggression.

In illicit Desoxyn use, illegally acquired bottles of pills may be found on their person or in their possession. Crystal Methamphetamine, the illegal form of Methamphetamine may also be found, in the form of crystalline powder ranging from white to brown and even yellow and orange. Drug paraphernalia for injecting or smoking the drug may be discovered.


Desoxyn is a highly addictive prescription medicine, and doctors are often reluctant to prescribe it because of its addiction potential. It is physically addictive, meaning that the body becomes used to having a certain level of the drug, triggering withdrawal symptoms and cravings when this level drops. Furthermore, the body quickly develops tolerance to the drug, leading the individual to take more and more to achieve the same effects.

It is also psychologically addictive, and those who abuse it have a strong compulsion to use it on a regular basis for the feelings it provides, in spite of any evidence that it is doing more harm than good.

Addiction to Desoxyn can cause significant disruption to the life and wellbeing of the user. Short term effects include an oscillating pattern of highs (in which the individual feels euphoric and has lots of energy) and lows (where they may feel depressed, excessively tired, irritable and hostile). In the case of long term abuse, they may suffer a range of negative psychological and physiological effects, including delusional psychosis, skin disorders and loss of general wellbeing.

Many of the same negative effects as are witnessed in Crystal Meth addicts are apparent in heavy Desoxyn abuse as it is essentially the same chemical. Not all of the effects of Crystal Meth abuse are related to Methamphetamine though, as some are due to the high levels of impurities found in the street drug, while others are due to the intake method of the drug (i.e. smoking, snorting and injecting).Though addiction to Methamphetamine in all its forms is very serious, it is also treatable and recoverable. The exact route of recovery should be decided by an experienced rehabilitation practitioner and the individual, and will depend largely on the extent and nature of the habitat.

Because of the level of addictiveness of Methamphetamine, it may be incredibly hard for an individual to quit successfully without professional support and intervention. In some cases the best option may be to undertake an extended period of rehabilitation as an inpatient in a specialised treatment centre, while in others treatment as an outpatient may be adequate.

The first thing to be dealt with is the withdrawal effects upon cessation of use. The intensity of these will vary depending on the extent of the addiction and the dosage usually taken, but include fatigue, depression, insomnia, psychosis, paranoia and a range of physiological effects which may be dangerous if not monitored. The individual may also experience suicidal thoughts.

During this initial detox period, medications may be prescribed to lessen the withdrawal effects and enable the patient to deal with them more easily. In addition to this, close monitoring, support and therapy is often offered. A multi-pronged approach which deals with each level of the addiction is used to prevent relapse, and to return the individual to mental and physical balance. Support groups with similar individuals are also often recommended.

In cases where use of the drug has resulted in psychiatric disorders and paranoid delusion, more specialist forms of psychological treatment may be needed.