What are severe adverse effects of methamphetamine abuse?

Updated: Aug 15, 2018
  • Author: John R Richards, MD, FAAEM; Chief Editor: Jeter (Jay) Pritchard Taylor, III, MD  more...
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In a study of 590 patients between 18 and 50 years old with cardiomyopathy or heart failure who were seen at a single medical center from 2008-2012, the 223 patients with a history of methamphetamine use were more likely to have a moderately or severely reduced ejection fraction ≤40%). In addition, male patients were more likely to have worse left ventricular systolic dysfunction. [28]

Methamphetamine abuse has severe adverse effects on oral health, colloquially termed "meth mouth". As a result of its sympathomimetic effects, methamphetamine results in significantly reduced saliva production and pH, and increased bruxism. Consequently, long-term abusers are at increased risk for caries, dental erosion, periodontal lesions, and temporomandibular joint pain. [29]

Use of methamphetamine during pregnancy has been associated with intrauterine growth restriction and preterm birth. Neonates have an increased incidence of poor cardiorespiratory adaptation, cardiac defects, and floppy muscle tone. [30]  Prenatal exposure may have a long-term impact on cognitive skills that becomes more pronounced with age. [31]


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