What are the
medical complications of methamphetamine abuse?
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can cause a variety of cardiovascular problems. These include rapid
heart rate, irregular heartbeat, increased blood pressure and
irreversible, stroke-producing damage to small blood vessels in the
brain. Hyperthermia (elevated body temperature) and convulsions
occur with methamphetamine overdoses and, if not treated
immediately, can result in death.
methamphetamine abuse can result in inflammation of the heart lining
and, among users who inject the drug, damaged blood vessels and skin
abscesses. Methamphetamine abusers also can have episodes of violent
behavior, paranoia, anxiety, confusion and insomnia. Heavy users
also show progressive social and occupational deterioration.
Psychotic symptoms can sometimes persist for months or years after
use has ceased.
poisoning is another potential risk for methamphetamine abusers. A
common method of illegal methamphetamine production uses lead
acetate as a reagent. Production errors therefore may result in
methamphetamine contaminated with lead. There have been documented
cases of acute lead poisoning in intravenous methamphetamine
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Fetal exposure to
methamphetamine also is a significant problem in the United States.
At present, research indicates that methamphetamine abuse during
pregnancy may result in prenatal complications, increased rates of
premature delivery and altered neonatal behavioral patterns, such as
abnormal reflexes and extreme irritability. Methamphetamine abuse
during pregnancy may be linked also to congenital deformities.
Institute on Drug Abuse]