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Study finds link between amphetamine abuse and heart attacks in young adults
Date:6/4/2008

DALLAS June 3, 2008 Young adults who abuse amphetamines may be at greater risk of suffering a heart attack, UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers have found.

In the study, available online in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence, researchers examined data from more than 3 million people between 18 and 44 years old hospitalized from 2000 through 2003 in Texas and found a relationship between a diagnosis of amphetamine abuse and heart attack.

Individual case reports have suggested a link between heart attack and amphetamine abuse, but this is believed to be the first epidemiological study of a large group of people on the issue, said Dr. Arthur Westover, assistant professor of psychiatry at UT Southwestern and the study's lead author.

"Most people aren't surprised that methamphetamines and amphetamines are bad for your health," Dr. Westover said. "But we are concerned because heart attacks in the young are rare and can be very debilitating or deadly."

Amphetamines are stimulants that can be used to treat medical conditions such as attention-deficient disorder. They are illegally abused as recreational drugs or performance enhancers.

The researchers note that abuse of methamphetamine, a type of amphetamine often sold illegally, is increasing in most major U.S. cities.

In Texas, the researchers found greater amphetamine abuse in the north and Panhandle regions.

"This paper sounds a warning to amphetamine abusers, alerts emergency department personnel to look for amphetamine abuse in young heart attack patients, and it allows us to focus preventive efforts in geographical areas where the problems are greatest," said Dr. Robert W. Haley, chief of epidemiology at UT Southwestern and senior author of the study. Dr. Haley holds the U.S. Armed Forces Veterans Distinguished Chair for Medical Research, Honoring America's Gulf War Veterans.

"We're also concerned that the numb
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Contact: LaKisha Ladson
lakisha.ladson@UTSouthwestern.edu
214-648-3404
UT Southwestern Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert  

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