Which CNS findings suggest methamphetamine toxicity?

Updated: Aug 15, 2018
  • Author: John R Richards, MD, FAAEM; Chief Editor: Jeter (Jay) Pritchard Taylor, III, MD  more...
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Answer

Central nervous system findings are as follows:

  • New-onset seizures may occur from direct CNS methamphetamine toxicity [40]

  • Acute and chronic methamphetamine exposure has been associated with a jerking, choreoathetoid movement disorder; these repetitive movements, hyperactivity, and inability to focus thought have been referred to as "tweaking" [39, 41]

  • Headache and cerebrovascular accidents with focal neurologic deficits may be caused by hemorrhage or vasospasm, cerebral edema, and cerebral vasculitis [37]

  • Acute psychosis, agitation, violence, and paranoia frequently results from alteration in CNS dopamine, serotonin, and glutamate pathways [52, 14]

  • Coma may result from depletion of catecholamine stores and/or concomitant ingestion of sedatives such as ethanol or narcotics [50]


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