Health Watch - Substance Abuse: Amphetamines and Heart Attack

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.


This week on Health Watch, we’re talking about health issues related to substance abuse. We know that amphetamine abuse is dangerous, but it could have a deadly impact.

Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have found that young adults who abuse amphetamines have a higher rate of heart attacks. Dr. Arthur Westover, a UT Southwestern psychiatrist, says this is a concern because heart attacks in young people are rare and tend to be deadly. Not only is this a warning to drug abusers, but it’s also something medical personnel need to be aware of. Some of the treatments used on patients having heart attacks could make matters worse for amphetamine abusers.

Emergency medical personnel should consider amphetamine abuse in young heart attack patients. Doctors believe that amphetamines raise the risk for heart attack by increasing heart rate and blood pressure and by causing inflammation and spasms in arteries, blocking blood supply from the heart.    

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November 2010


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