Preferred Sample Type

Amfetamine (Amphetamine)

Suitable Specimen Types

  • Serum
  • EDTA Plasma
  • Li Hep Plasma
A minimum of 100 ul of plasma/serum is required.

Specimen Transport

First class post

Sample Processing in Laboratory

Place sample in toxicology rack.

Sample Preparation

None required

Turnaround Time

3 days.

Sample Stability

Keep refrigerated. 4 degrees.

Amfetamine (Amphetamine)

General Information

Amfetamine (Amphetamine) is a sympathomimetic phenethylamine derivative with prominent central stimulant activity. The compound was first synthesized in 1887 and has been used since 1935 in the treatment of obesity, narcolepsy and hypotension. Amfetamine is frequently abused for its stimulant effects and may be self-administered either orally or by intravenous injection in amounts of up to 2000 mg daily by tolerant addicts. It is also a metabolite of a number of other drugs including fenethylline, fenproporex and methamfetamine. 

Amfetamine is largely inactivated during metabolism, being deaminated to phenyacetone, which is subsequently oxidized to benzoic acid and excreted as conjugates. However, a small amount is converted by oxidation to norephedrine, and this compound and its parent are p-hydroxylated. These latter three metabolites are pharmacologically active and may contribute to the effects of the drug, especially in chronic usage. Around 30% of amfetamine is excreted unchanged in urine, but this may increase to 74% in acid urine and decrease to 1% in alkaline urine.

Excessive doses of amfetamine can cause restlessness, anxiety, confusion, irritability, hyperactivity and aggressive or bizarre behavior. Chronic useage is associated with a high incidence of weight loss, hallucinations and paranoid psychosis. Myocardial infarction, aortic dissection, ischaemic stroke and cerebral haemorrhage have been described in users of the drug.


Please note, this assay is for the quantitative determination of amfetamine in blood. Stimulant use (including MDMA, MDA, MDEA, amfetamine, methamfetamine, 4MEC, MDPV, MMC & BZP) may also be detected via our urinary Drugs of Abuse Screen by LC-MS/MS.

Patient Preparation

No patient preparation required.


Amfetamine measured by LC-MS/MS

Reference Range

Toxic range: > 0.2 mg/L. Amfetamine concentrations above 0.50 mg/L have been linked to fatalities, but in regular amfetamine users, blood concentrations may range up to 3 mg/L without toxic effects.  (Schulz et al. Critical Care 2012, 16:R136). 


  • EQA Scheme?: Yes

The laboratories at Heartlands Hospital, Good Hope Hospital and Solihull Hospital form part of the services provided by University Hospitals Birmingham and are UKAS (United Kingdom Accreditation Service) accredited to the ISO 15189:2012 standard. For a list of accredited tests and other information please visit the UKAS website using the following link:

  • Heartlands, Good Hope and Solihull Hospital pathology laboratories are a UKAS accredited medical laboratory No.8217
  • United Kingdom Health Security Agency laboratory is a UKAS accredited medical laboratory No.8213

Tests not appearing on the UKAS Schedule of Accreditation currently remain outside of our scope of accreditation. However, these tests have been validated to the same high standard as accredited tests and are performed by the same trained and competent staff.

For further test information, please visit the test database:

Protection of personal information - Laboratory Medicine comply with the Trust Data Protection policy and have procedures in place to allow the Directorate and its employees to comply with the Data Protection act  1998 and associated best practice and guidance.

For further information contact Louise Fallon, Quality Manager, 0121 424 1235