Mental Health Home > Methamphetamine

How Does It Work?

Methamphetamine is a stimulant, although it can have effects that are opposite from what would be expected of a stimulant. While stimulants (like caffeine) can cause hyperactivity, methamphetamine has a calming effect when it is taken in doses intended for ADHD treatment. While it is not known exactly how it produces a calming effect, it is known that the medication affects chemicals in the brain.
Methamphetamine works in at least two ways to help people lose weight. It works as an appetite suppressant and also helps to increase the metabolism.

When and How to Take Methamphetamine

Some general considerations for when and how to take this medication include the following:
  • It comes in tablet form. For ADHD, it is usually taken once or twice a day. For weight loss, the medication is usually taken half an hour before each meal.
  • You can take it with or without food.
  • For it to work properly, it must be taken as prescribed. Methamphetamine will not work if you stop taking it.


The dosage that your healthcare provider recommends will vary depending on a number of factors, including:
  • The condition being treated (ADHD or obesity)
  • Other medical conditions you may have
  • Other medications you may be taking.
As with any medication, do not adjust your dose unless your healthcare provider specifically instructs you to do so.
(Click Methamphetamine Dosing for more information about this topic.)
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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