Levomethamphetamine (other names: l-desoxyephedrine, l-methamphetamine, levmetamfetamine ) is the l- stereoisomer of methamphetamine, a sympathomimetic vasoconstrictor which is the active ingredient used in some over-the-counter nasal decongestants. The common brand-name for levmetamfetamine in the U.S. is the Vicks Inhaler. In the U.S., the name was converted to levmetamfetamine from levo-methamphetamine to lower the risk of abuse of the decongestant preparation and to lessen the stigma commonly associated with methamphetamine.


Levomethamphetamine affects the sympathetic nervous system but is not thought to be nearly as addictive or centrally active as the d- isomer of methamphetamine (dextro-methamphetamine, d-methamphetamine, d-desoxyephedrine, etc.) and only exerts vasoconstricting effects used for decongestion.

Side Effects

Common side effects include muscle tremor and stomach cramps. Other side effects include hypertension and tachycardia.

Recreational Use

Although levo-methamphetamine is only very mildly centrally active (unlike dextro-methamphetamine, which acts mainly on the central nervous system), recreational drug users may abuse the inhaler preparation by cracking open the inhaler and then swallowing the cotton inside (as the cotton is soaked in levo-methamphetamine.) This reputedly gives the user a very mild "speedy" effect with a mild energy boost, similar to that of ephedrine or pseudoephedrine. However, particularly if a solution is made with the cotton in an acidic solution, the initial effects last for less than two hours, with minimal and transient mood lift and stimulation. Sometimes uncomfortable and unpleasant feelings can arise by ingesting the cotton, since the cotton is also soaked in menthol and camphor. Both menthol and camphor are analgesics and camphor is possibly lethal at high doses. A similar common practice in the early to mid 1950's took place, where people would break open Benzedrine inhalers, which contained freebase amphetamine, and then either swallow the cotton or let it steep in a cup of tea or coffee. Swallowing was referred to as "popping bennies".


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