The Changing Drug Culture

Use and Misuse of Cognition-Enhancing Drugs

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

There has been an increase in diagnoses of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), with approximately 9% of American children now diagnosed, and a concomitant increase in the use of stimulants (eg, amphetamines, methylphenidate) to manage ADHD. Nonstimulant drugs (eg, atomoxetine, guanfacine, clonidine) also are used, but most patients are treated with stimulants. All of these drugs are effective for management of ADHD, and, overall, use in childhood does not seem to increase the risk of substance abuse later in life. However, widespread use has resulted in prescription stimulants being diverted for nonmedical uses, particularly by high school and college students seeking cognitive enhancement for improved academic performance. Studies of ADHD drugs for improving cognition in patients without ADHD have mixed results, and any improvements appear to be modest and short-term. Other substances also are used for cognitive enhancement. Drugs for Alzheimer disease are being used for mild cognitive impairment, though there is no evidence that they are effective. Creatine may have mild cognition-enhancing properties, but study results often are confounded by the addition of exercise, which by itself is thought to improve cognition. There is no evidence that other supplements, such as vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids, improve cognitive function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)25-29
Number of pages5
JournalFP essentials
Volume441
StatePublished - Feb 1 2016

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Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity
Cognition
Pharmaceutical Preparations
Guanfacine
Amphetamines
Methylphenidate
Creatine
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Clonidine
Vitamins
Substance-Related Disorders
Prescriptions
Alzheimer Disease
Exercise
Students

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

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title = "The Changing Drug Culture: Use and Misuse of Cognition-Enhancing Drugs",
abstract = "There has been an increase in diagnoses of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), with approximately 9{\%} of American children now diagnosed, and a concomitant increase in the use of stimulants (eg, amphetamines, methylphenidate) to manage ADHD. Nonstimulant drugs (eg, atomoxetine, guanfacine, clonidine) also are used, but most patients are treated with stimulants. All of these drugs are effective for management of ADHD, and, overall, use in childhood does not seem to increase the risk of substance abuse later in life. However, widespread use has resulted in prescription stimulants being diverted for nonmedical uses, particularly by high school and college students seeking cognitive enhancement for improved academic performance. Studies of ADHD drugs for improving cognition in patients without ADHD have mixed results, and any improvements appear to be modest and short-term. Other substances also are used for cognitive enhancement. Drugs for Alzheimer disease are being used for mild cognitive impairment, though there is no evidence that they are effective. Creatine may have mild cognition-enhancing properties, but study results often are confounded by the addition of exercise, which by itself is thought to improve cognition. There is no evidence that other supplements, such as vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids, improve cognitive function.",
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N2 - There has been an increase in diagnoses of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), with approximately 9% of American children now diagnosed, and a concomitant increase in the use of stimulants (eg, amphetamines, methylphenidate) to manage ADHD. Nonstimulant drugs (eg, atomoxetine, guanfacine, clonidine) also are used, but most patients are treated with stimulants. All of these drugs are effective for management of ADHD, and, overall, use in childhood does not seem to increase the risk of substance abuse later in life. However, widespread use has resulted in prescription stimulants being diverted for nonmedical uses, particularly by high school and college students seeking cognitive enhancement for improved academic performance. Studies of ADHD drugs for improving cognition in patients without ADHD have mixed results, and any improvements appear to be modest and short-term. Other substances also are used for cognitive enhancement. Drugs for Alzheimer disease are being used for mild cognitive impairment, though there is no evidence that they are effective. Creatine may have mild cognition-enhancing properties, but study results often are confounded by the addition of exercise, which by itself is thought to improve cognition. There is no evidence that other supplements, such as vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids, improve cognitive function.

AB - There has been an increase in diagnoses of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), with approximately 9% of American children now diagnosed, and a concomitant increase in the use of stimulants (eg, amphetamines, methylphenidate) to manage ADHD. Nonstimulant drugs (eg, atomoxetine, guanfacine, clonidine) also are used, but most patients are treated with stimulants. All of these drugs are effective for management of ADHD, and, overall, use in childhood does not seem to increase the risk of substance abuse later in life. However, widespread use has resulted in prescription stimulants being diverted for nonmedical uses, particularly by high school and college students seeking cognitive enhancement for improved academic performance. Studies of ADHD drugs for improving cognition in patients without ADHD have mixed results, and any improvements appear to be modest and short-term. Other substances also are used for cognitive enhancement. Drugs for Alzheimer disease are being used for mild cognitive impairment, though there is no evidence that they are effective. Creatine may have mild cognition-enhancing properties, but study results often are confounded by the addition of exercise, which by itself is thought to improve cognition. There is no evidence that other supplements, such as vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids, improve cognitive function.

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