Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Addictive Potential of ADHD Stimultants According to JAMA

Provigil® (Modafinil) is a stimultant drug that is used to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It is also a drug that is often misused by students to help them increase their study performance, and there have been many ethical debates on this issue. At what point does "off-label" cross ethical boundaries?

Recently on JAMA, an article came out titled, "Effects of Modafinil on Dopamine and Dopamine Transporters in the Male Human Brain: Clinical Implications." Can you guess what it was about? Students who are really driven are often looking for ways to increase their grades (unless they easily get straight A's and they're already at the top of their class). The misuse of stimulants has been such a hot topic recently. The authors of this JAMA article concluse that, "Because drugs that increase dopamine in the nucleus accumbens have the potential for abuse, and considering the increasing use of modafinil, these results highlight the need for heightened awareness for potential abuse of and dependence on modafinil in vulnerable populations."

What exactly does this mean? Provigil is a Class IV controlled substance and is in that class with benzos and anabolic steroids.

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