Amphetamine ingestion presenting as eclampsia

  • Elliott R
  • Rees G
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A case of amphetamine abuse in late pregnancy is reported. The presenting features of convulsions, confusion, agitation with hypertension and proteinuria led to a diagnosis of eclampsia for which a caesarean section was performed. Investigations and differential diagnosis of convulsions in late pregnancy are reviewed. A general urinary drug screen gives results after 24 hr whereas, if amphetamine abuse is suspected, this can be confirmed within three hr if a specific test for urinary amphetamines is performed. The sympathomimetic effects of a single dose of amphetamine are contrasted with the depression of the sympathetic nervous system which occurs after long-term use. Implications for anaesthesia are discussed.

Author-supplied keywords

  • anaesthesia: obstetrical
  • analeptics: amphetamines
  • complications: eclampsia
  • pharmacology: overdose, amphetamine

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  • Richard H. Elliott

  • Gareth B. Rees

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