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Stimulants. Sandy Kulkarni. Stimulants. Stimulants are chemical substances that enhance the activity of the brain and the central nervous system. They cause increased alertness and wakefulness. In many cases they also act to decrease appetite. Sympathomimetic Drugs.

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Sandy Kulkarni

  • Stimulants are chemical substances that enhance the activity of the brain and the central nervous system.
  • They cause increased alertness and wakefulness. In many cases they also act to decrease appetite.
sympathomimetic drugs
Sympathomimetic Drugs
  • Sympathomimetic drugs are chemical substances that mimic the effects of the hormone, adrenalin.
  • Generally they cause constriction of the arteries and increase metabolism.
  • Neurotransmitters work to transmit electrical neuro-impulses across a synapse.
  • Many stimulants enhance the neuro-impulse transmission systems.

L dopamine



The structures of many stimulants mimic chemical structures and are closely related to the neurotransmitters found in the body.

L Dopamine


amphetamines historical development
Amphetamines-Historical Development
  • Amphetamines were initially developed as a cure-all for helping long haul truckers stay awake
  • They were also used for weight control, to help athletes to perform better and train longer
  • As amphetamine abuse became more common, it became evident that the dangers of abuse far outweighed therapeutic uses.
  • Amphetaminewas first marketed in the 1930s as Benzedrine, an over-the-counter inhaler to treat nasal congestion.
  • It was also used in the treatment of the sleeping disorder, narcolepsy, and the behavioral syndrome called minimal brain dysfunction (MBD), which today is called attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
  • During World War II, amphetamines were used to keep the fighting men going especially under intense battle conditions.

Amphetamines closely mimic the chemical structure of adrenalin.


Amphetamines act by

  • constricting arteries, increasing perspiration activity and stimulating brain activity.
  • increasing heart rate and blood pressure,
  • increasing wakefulness, restlessness, agitation and insomnia.
amphetamines harmful effects
Amphetamines --Harmful Effects
  • highly addictive and toxic
  • Long term use leads to deterioration of a number of body systems.
  • Chronic abuse produces a psychosis that resembles schizophrenia and is characterized by paranoia, picking at the skin, preoccupation with one's own thoughts, and auditory and visual hallucinations.
  • Severe depression and violent or erratic behavior are also common among meth addicts.

Ecstasy is a powerful stimulant that has some characteristics in common with adrenalin and L-dopamine as well.

Repeated use of Ecstasy ultimately may damage the cells that produce serotonin, which has an important role in the regulation of mood, appetite, pain, learning and memory.

ecstasy effects
Ecstasy - Effects

Because it mimics L-Dopamine, it has been used to relieve symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease.

Results in mental relaxation, increased sensitivity to stimuli and hallucinations.

It can be produce fatal effects even from a single exposure

Attempts to synthesize new amphetamines led to so called designer drugs, all of which are highly dangerous.

  • Nicotine is an alkaloid found in the nightshade family of plants (Solanaceae)
  • It constitutes approximately 0.6–3.0% of dry weight of tobacco
nicotine short term
Nicotine -Short Term
  • Sympathomimetic
  • Increases concentration and relieves tension
  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Reduction in urine output
nicotine long term
Nicotine – Long Term
  • Highly addictive
  • Increased risk of heart disease and coronary thrombosis
  • Increased stomach acid and risk of peptic ulcers
  • Chronic lung disease
  • Increased risk of cancer

Nicotine -- Addiction and Withdrawal

  • Cessation of smoking difficult
  • Cravings
  • Nausea, weight gain, insomnia, irritability, and depression

Caffeine Characteristics

  • Alkaloid
  • Widely used stimulant found in coffee and tea.
  • Added to some pain killers to speed up their effects.

Caffeine Effects

  • Increases alertness, concentration, and restlessness
  • Diuretic
  • Potential dependence


  • Found in chocolate
  • Effects similar to caffeine.
  • Structure is similar to that of caffeine but the methyl group on the nitrogen between the two carbonyl groups is missing





  • Although theobromine does not cause harmful effects with humans, it is highly toxic to some domestic animals, including dogs and horses.
  • With the animals, theobromine can lead to cardiac arrhythmias and seizures.


Theobromine has a bitter flavor, which gives dark chocolate its typical bitter taste.