Stimulant abuse: pharmacology, cocaine, methamphetamine, treatment, attempts at pharmacotherapy

Prim Care. 2011 Mar;38(1):41-58. doi: 10.1016/j.pop.2010.11.004. Epub 2011 Jan 11.


The high prevalence of stimulant abuse and its harmful consequences make the screening, diagnosis, and referral for treatment of persons with stimulant abuse a top concern for primary care providers. Having a working knowledge of use patterns, clinical symptomatology, end-organ effects, and advances in treatment of stimulant abuse is essential. Although cocaine and amphetamine have different use patterns, duration of action, and so forth, the consequences of use are remarkably similar. Primary care is at the forefront of screening, brief risk reduction interventions, and diagnosis of medical sequelae, with referral to addiction specialist treatment when necessary.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amphetamine / adverse effects
  • Amphetamine-Related Disorders / complications
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants / adverse effects*
  • Cocaine / adverse effects
  • Cocaine-Related Disorders / complications
  • Dopamine Uptake Inhibitors / adverse effects*
  • HIV Infections / transmission
  • Humans
  • Methamphetamine / adverse effects
  • Primary Health Care
  • Substance-Related Disorders / diagnosis
  • Substance-Related Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / epidemiology
  • United States / epidemiology


  • Central Nervous System Stimulants
  • Dopamine Uptake Inhibitors
  • Methamphetamine
  • Amphetamine
  • Cocaine