Methamphetamine (METH) is an abused drug that may cause psychiatric and neurotoxic damage, including degeneration of monoaminergic terminals and apoptosis of non-monoaminergic cells in the brain. The cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying these METH-induced neurotoxic effects remain to be clarified. In this study, we performed a time course assessment to investigate the effects of METH on intracellular oxidative stress and mitochondrial alterations in a human dopaminergic neuroblastoma SH-SY5Y cell line. We characterized that METH induces a temporal sequence of several cellular events including, firstly, a decrease in mitochondrial membrane potential within 1 h of the METH treatment, secondly, an extensive decline in mitochondrial membrane potential and increase in the level of reactive oxygen species (ROS) after 8 h of the treatment, thirdly, an increase in mitochondrial mass after the drug treatment for 24 h, and finally, a decrease in mtDNA copy number and mitochondrial proteins per mitochondrion as well as the occurrence of apoptosis after 48 h of the treatment. Importantly, vitamin E attenuated the METH-induced increases in intracellular ROS level and mitochondrial mass, and prevented METH-induced cell death. Our observations suggest that enhanced oxidative stress and aberrant mitochondrial biogenesis may play critical roles in METH-induced neurotoxic effects.