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Keywords:

  • Cardiotoxicity;
  • cardiovascular;
  • methamphetamine;
  • pathology

ABSTRACT

Aims  To examine the literature pertaining to the cardiovascular effects of methamphetamine and discuss the implications for methamphetamine users.

Methods  Relevant literature was identified through comprehensive MEDLINE and EMBASE searches.

Findings and conclusions  There is sufficient clinical and experimental evidence to suggest that methamphetamine can have adverse and potentially fatal effects on the cardiovascular system. The existing literature suggests that: (1) methamphetamine users are at elevated risk of cardiac pathology; (2) risk is not likely to be limited to the duration of their methamphetamine use, because of the chronic pathology associated with methamphetamine use; (3) the risk of cardiac pathology is greatest among chronic methamphetamine users; (4) pre-existing cardiac pathology, due to methamphetamine use or other factors, increases the risk of an acute cardiac event; and (5) methamphetamine use is likely to exacerbate the risk of cardiac pathology from other causes, and may therefore lead to premature mortality.