The amphetamines are among the most widely used drugs in medical practice. They are sympathomimetic amines and are closely related chemically to adrenalin, and ephedrine. The synthesis of amphetamine in 1927 by Alles,1 working in Los Angeles, in the course of a search for a substance to replace ephedrine, which was difficult to obtain from its natural sources, marks the starting point of the exploration of the clinical uses of this group of drugs and led to the production of the amphetamine sulfate inhaler in 1932.
Further studies led to the separation of amphetamine into dextro- and levo-isomers, the former being now well known as dextroamphetamine. In 1929, Emde of Basle2 prepared the drug now known as methamphetamine and the clinical effects of this drug were soon to be explored.
In his book, The Amphetamines, Their Actions and Uses,3 Leake reviews the history, actions, toxicity, and clinical