Dangers of “study drugs”

Dangers of “study drugs”

School is ramping up for high school and college students with papers, exams and tests just beginning. And some may be looking for any help they can get to improve their grades.

Often called “study drugs,” an increasing number of young people are using attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) medication to boost their brain power before taking important exams or writing papers. And now, the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) is condemning the practice and warning about the dangers.

The AAN has issued a statement saying prescribing these drugs for teens without ADHD is misguided and may be hazardous. And with exam season in full swing, the warnings are timely.

“Doctors caring for children and teens have a professional obligation to always protect the best interests of the child, to protect vulnerable populations, and prevent the misuse of medication,” said AAN member William Graf, MD, of Yale University in a news release. “The practice of prescribing these drugs, called neuroenhancements, for healthy students is not justifiable.”

The statement says parents who urge their physicians to prescribe the medication may be putting their children at risk since the long-term effects on people without ADHD who take the drug have not been studied. They also risk creating a dependency problem and over-medication concerns.

“The physician should talk to the child about the request, as it may reflect other medical, social or psychological motivations such as anxiety, depression or insomnia. There are alternatives to neuroenhancements available, including maintaining good sleep, nutrition, study habits and exercise regimens,” said Graf.

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One Comment

  1. cordelia_79720 May 15, 2014 at 9:24 pm · Reply

    ADHD Rx has been going on lond enough to have captured some useful data to critique their use as study drugs; what is out there is evidence that ADHD drugs do enhance study, memory, applicaton of theories, …which creates temptation to use…furthermore, try to argue with a student against their use and they will educate you to the competitive pressures to get into the best chosen university, to get into the right grad school, to get the best grades to get the best jon in the right corporation, law firm, medical specialty residency…

    So…rather than argue a losing battle, best for those who care to do some hard research and educate to the results…otherwise you’re just wasting time, energy, breath and alienating students who might need your help in one way or another.

    Used to be “Phosphorus” and Multivitamin cocktail … and before that, simple caffeine …

    loong is the drug-enhancement studies …

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health enews Staff
health enews Staff

health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.