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Methamphetamine: Implications for the Dental Team

Course Number: 332

Cardiovascular and Respiratory Effects

The ingredients of methamphetamine stimulate the cardiac and respiratory systems, causing uncontrolled hypertension, tachycardia and possibly arrhythmias. Increased respiration and shortness of breath can result. These effects lead to a greater incidence of heart attack or stroke in meth users.44 Additionally, pericarditis and permanent coronary artery disease have been shown in long-term abusers. Users can also experience diaphoresis (sweating) along with dangerous hyperthermia (elevated body temperature), which can lead to seizures, permanent brain damage or death.40