What are Stimulants?
The term “stimulant” is a bit nebulous. In neuropsychopharmacology (and for our purposes) stimulants refer to medications that promote attention and arousal. They include medications used to treat narcolepsy, daytime fatigue, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
The stimulants include the amphetamines (dextroamphetamine, amphetamine mixed salts, lisdexamfetamine, methamphetamine), methylphenidates (ritalin, concerta), modafinil (Provigil) and armodafinil (Nuvigil).
Amphetamine and methylphenidate primarily promote dopamine and norephinephrine neurotransmission in the nucleus accumbens and prefrontal cortex whereas modafinil and armodafinil primarily promote histamine release from hypothalamic nuclei.
Below is a brief review of the amphetamine-based stimulants.