Desoxyn is the brand name for methamphetamine hydrochloride, a stimulant medication. Methamphetamine is considered a Schedule II substance under the U.S. Controlled Substances Act because although it has clinically-accepted medicinal uses, the drug has high risk for abuse as well as physical and psychological addiction. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved two uses for Desoxyn, but doctors may prescribe it for off-label (unapproved) use as well.
Desoxyn is primarily prescribed to treat attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children over six-years-old. The drug is intended as part of a treatment program, including psychological, educational and social measures. The FDA has not approved Desoxyn for use in adults, but physicians prescribe it for that purpose as well. Although Desoxyn is a stimulant, it has a calming effect on people with ADHD.
Desoxyn is approved as a short-term weight reduction aide for obese people. The drug is intended to be part of an overall diet plan, and only to be prescribed when other weight-loss drugs and programs have been ineffective. People taking Desoxyn for long periods of time to lose weight are likely to become dependent on the drug due to its stimulant effects.
Doctors also prescribe Desoxyn for the off-label use of treating narcolepsy, a disorder which causes excessive daytime sleepiness and sudden onset of sleep episodes. Narcolepsy is a chronic neurological condition resulting from the brain's inability to regulate sleep-wake cycles.
Methamphetamine was originally approved to treat other conditions for which it is no longer used. For instance, the drug was once approved for a disease called postencephalitic parkinsonism, which stimulates nerve cell degeneration and leads to clinical parkinsonism, also known as atypical Parkinson's disease. Methamphetamine was also originally approved to treat mild depression, and is still prescribed for that purpose, although rarely.
Because of its high risk for abuse and addiction, physicians generally avoid prescribing Desoxyn, unless other medications or therapies have not been shown to work for the individual case. Desoxyn also can cause side effects of dizziness, headache, insomnia, dry mouth, nausea, stomach pain, diarrhoea or constipation, and rapid or irregular heartbeat. It should not be prescribed to people with high blood pressure or other cardiovascular disorders.