'Cognitive Enhancers' the new smart pills - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

3/30/09

'Cognitive Enhancers' the new smart pills

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LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Many adults are turning to pills to get them through a busy day shuffling work and marriage obligations and activities with the kids.   They're called ‘cognitive enhancers' and they include popular attention deficit disorder medications like Ritalin, Adderall, and Provigil. As helpful as they may be to some adults, the national institute of drug abuse is concerned that some people do not need these drugs and should not be taking them. Nora Volkow of the national institute of drug abuse, says,  "What is concerning to me right now is the high levels that these medications are being already utilized by healthy individuals out there, when we don't have sufficient information about their benefits and we don't have a lot of information about the adverse effects".

Dr. Volkow from the national institute on drug abuse says more and more healthy adults are using these drugs off label to help them be more productive at work, school, and home even though they are actually only approved by the FDA for medical problems, like ADD and narcolepsy. Cognitive enhancers work by altering the amount of neurotransmitters in the brain, which stimulates the mind.

Volkow says, though, that the possible side effects can outweigh the benefits.  In some people, these drugs can produce psychotic reactions, paranoia, or full-blown psychosis. The demand is so great for "cognitive enhancers", that some experts predict drug makers will develop nearly 600 new drugs like these over the next few decades. These medicines are only available by prescription, so you should not try to use them without a doctor's supervision.

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