Tag Archives: Ritalin

Straight, No Chaser: Prescription Drug Abuse

PrescriptionDrugAbuse_logo

Many times over the years, I’ve had to explain to patients such as chronic sufferers from migraines, low back pain and other conditions that even if they weren’t “drug-seeking,” they still could be addicted to various medications. In the conversation about the drugs that are most frequently abused, once you get past marijuana and alcohol, you’re talking about prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs. Think about it, if you can get a physician to prescribe pain or other medications with mind-altering properties (known as psychoactive medications), it’s a relatively simple way to get a “clean” supply of “high-quality” drugs.
Now if you paid attention to that last sentence, you’ll note the quotes, and perhaps you picked up on the irony. Prescription and OTC drugs are meant to be safer than illicit drugs. However, that’s only true when they are taken exactly as prescribed for the reasons prescribed. When misused or abused, prescription and OTC drugs can be addictive and put abusers at risk for adverse health effects, including overdose and death. In many cases these risks are pronounced when taken at the same time as other drugs or alcohol.
The classes of prescription drugs most commonly abused are the following:

  • Opioid pain relievers, such as Vicodin or Oxycontin
  • Stimulants for treating Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), such as Adderall, Concerta, or Ritalin
  • Central nervous system (CNS) depressants for relieving anxiety, such as Valium or Xanax
  • OTC drugs are cough and cold remedies containing dextromethorphan

What these medications have in common is the mind-altering properties that can be produced when taken other than prescribed (i.e. by a different person and/or in a different dose than prescribed). These can produce effects that some would describe as pleasurable, all the while causing other damage to your body.

 PrescriptionDrugsLarge

What I’d like to accomplish next is to advice you how your children or others with access to your medicine cabinet may be abusing drugs.
Taking a medication prescribed for somebody else. We all have heard time and again to never take medicine prescribed for someone else’s use. Unaware of the dangers of sharing medications in general or pain medications specifically, people often unknowingly participate in this form of abuse by sharing their unused pain relievers with friends and family members. In fact, most teenagers who abuse prescription drugs receive them for free by a friend or relative.
Taking a drug in a higher quantity or in another manner than prescribed. Most prescription drugs are dispensed orally in tablets, but abusers sometimes crush the tablets and snort or inject the powder. This hastens the entry of the drug into the bloodstream and the brain and amplifies its effects. This is dangerous and produces unintended effects, including death.
Taking a drug for another purpose than prescribed. All of the drug types mentioned can produce pleasurable effects at certain quantities, so taking them for the purpose of getting high is one of the main reasons people abuse them. Unfortunately they can also produce deadly effects at certain qualities. A common example is the use of ADHD drugs (e.g. Adderall) to improve students’ academic performance. Although these drugs may boost alertness, there is little evidence they improve cognitive functioning for those without ADHD. There is evidence they produce adverse effects under certain circumstances.

prescription addiction

Finally you should be concerned that prescription opioid abuse has been shown to be a first step to heroin use. Pain medications such as Oxycontin and Vicodin have effects similar to heroin. In three recent studies, nearly half of young people who inject heroin surveyed reported abusing prescription opioids before starting to use heroin. In fact, some individuals reported taking up heroin because it is cheaper and easier to obtain than prescription opioids.
In other words, pay attention to what’s happening with medications in your home and possession.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2018 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser In The News: A "Smart Drug" That's Actually Safe and Effective

smartdrugsmodafinil
When I hear medical news that’s too good to be true, it usually is. However science evolves, and new discoveries must be evaluated. Typically my first thought is “consider the source.” More often that not, the credibility of a claim is highly correlated with the credentials of the individual making it and/or the source publishing it. Another very important consideration is “does the discovery or proposed mechanism of action make sense in the context of what we know about anatomy, physiology and science?”
brainup
To that end, review of 24 existing studies on the topic and research at Harvard University and Oxford Universities have concluded that a safe and effective “smart drug” exists. This drug is named modafinil, and it is currently used for treatment of narcolepsy (a brain disorder that causes affected individuals to suddenly and uncontrollably fall asleep at inopportune times). You may have heard of “smart drugs” in the past, within the context of students using medications to enhance performance on tests – but this conversation goes beyond that use. This Straight, No Chaser will frame the conversation in “question and answer” form for your review. This is fascinating stuff!
smartpill
1. How does this drug work on the brain? The prevailing (and admittedly oversimplified) thoughts are that modafinil may increase blood flow to specific sections of the brain that control attention and learning, and it may enhance activity in areas of the brain that manage memory, problem-solving and reasoning skills. At this point specific effects on a cellular level are not well understood.
smartdrugsstupill
2. What does this drug do to make one “smarter?” The data is pretty clear that modafinil can enhance attention, improve decision-making abilities, improve learning, improve problem-solving capacity and make certain individuals think more creatively. Research has also shown that modafinil’s effect were even more pronounced the long and more complex the task, and it made completing tasks more pleasurable.
3. Has this drug been used in this context before now? Modafinil is licensed and prescribed in the UK as Provigil and has been used since 2002, although it is not prescribed as a “smart pill.” Surveys in respected journals note that 44% of those seeking drugs to improve focus prefer modafinil.
4. Is this drug safe? Answering these types of questions is typically what makes physicians start equivocating, but the answer appears to be yes. In the context of short-term use, modafinil has very few side effects and no demonstrated addictive qualities. Importantly, the drug appears to have miminal effect on mood. It is acknowledged that ongoing information is needed regarding long-term use and its effects. Regarding negative effects, one study in the review showed those already deemed “creative” saw a small drop in that creativity, but this was not a consistent finding.
5. Does it work in both healthy and unhealthy people? Modafinil appears to be safe and effective in healthy and unhealthy individuals.
smartdrugsRitalin-on-off-label
6. How does this compare to other “smart drugs” like Ritalin? Other drugs have a much more pronounced side effect profile than modafinil, meaning modafinil appears to be an overall safer drug.
7. Is this drug available? It’s available for use in narcolepsy but not in the context of improving performance. There really are two considerations. It would be difficult at best to obtain permission to conduct a research examining the long-term effects on the brain of such a drug; this presents a serious ethical dilemma. Similarly another ethical question is whether healthy individuals should be allowed to have access to a drug that improves performance when no problems exist? The manufacturer has indicated that they will not pursue license for modafinil in this context.
Stay tuned. I’m sure there will be much more to come on the topic. In the meantime, the smart choice would be to guard your overall health.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2017 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: Prescription Drug Abuse

PrescriptionDrugAbuse_logo

Many times over the years, I’ve had to explain to patients such as chronic sufferers from migraines, low back pain and other conditions that even if they weren’t “drug-seeking,” they still could be addicted to various medications. In the conversation about the drugs that are most frequently abused, once you get past marijuana and alcohol, you’re talking about prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs. Think about it, if you can get a physician to prescribe pain or other medications with mind-altering properties (known as psychoactive medications), it’s a relatively simple way to get a “clean” supply of “high-quality” drugs.
Now if you paid attention to that last sentence, you’ll note the quotes, and perhaps you picked up on the irony. Prescription and OTC drugs are meant to be safer than illicit drugs. However, that’s only true when they are taken exactly as prescribed for the reasons prescribed. When misused or abused, prescription and OTC drugs can be addictive and put abusers at risk for adverse health effects, including overdose and death. In many cases these risks are pronounced when taken at the same time as other drugs or alcohol.
The classes of prescription drugs most commonly abused are the following:

  • Opioid pain relievers, such as Vicodin or Oxycontin
  • Stimulants for treating Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), such as Adderall, Concerta, or Ritalin
  • Central nervous system (CNS) depressants for relieving anxiety, such as Valium or Xanax
  • OTC drugs are cough and cold remedies containing dextromethorphan

What these medications have in common is the mind-altering properties that can be produced when taken other than prescribed (i.e. by a different person and/or in a different dose than prescribed). These can produce effects that some would describe as pleasurable, all the while causing other damage to your body.

 PrescriptionDrugsLarge

What I’d like to accomplish next is to advice you how your children or others with access to your medicine cabinet may be abusing drugs.
Taking a medication prescribed for somebody else. We all have heard time and again to never take medicine prescribed for someone else’s use. Unaware of the dangers of sharing medications in general or pain medications specifically, people often unknowingly participate in this form of abuse by sharing their unused pain relievers with friends and family members. In fact, most teenagers who abuse prescription drugs receive them for free by a friend or relative.
Taking a drug in a higher quantity or in another manner than prescribed. Most prescription drugs are dispensed orally in tablets, but abusers sometimes crush the tablets and snort or inject the powder. This hastens the entry of the drug into the bloodstream and the brain and amplifies its effects. This is dangerous and produces unintended effects, including death.
Taking a drug for another purpose than prescribed. All of the drug types mentioned can produce pleasurable effects at certain quantities, so taking them for the purpose of getting high is one of the main reasons people abuse them. Unfortunately they can also produce deadly effects at certain qualities. A common example is the use of ADHD drugs (e.g. Adderall) to improve students’ academic performance. Although these drugs may boost alertness, there is little evidence they improve cognitive functioning for those without ADHD. There is evidence they produce adverse effects under certain circumstances.

prescription addiction

Finally you should be concerned that prescription opioid abuse has been shown to be a first step to heroin use. Pain medications such as Oxycontin and Vicodin have effects similar to heroin. In three recent studies, nearly half of young people who inject heroin surveyed reported abusing prescription opioids before starting to use heroin. In fact, some individuals reported taking up heroin because it is cheaper and easier to obtain than prescription opioids.
In other words, pay attention to what’s happening with medications in your home and possession.
 
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2017 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: Prescription Drug Abuse

PrescriptionDrugAbuse_logo

Many times over the years, I’ve had to explain to patients such as chronic sufferers from migraines, low back pain and other conditions that even if they weren’t “drug-seeking,” they still could be addicted to various medications. In the conversation about the drugs that are most frequently abused, once you get past marijuana and alcohol, you’re talking about prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs. Think about it, if you can get a physician to prescribe pain or other medications with mind-altering properties (known as psychoactive medications), it’s a relatively simple way to get a “clean” supply of “high-quality” drugs.
Now if you paid attention to that last sentence, you’ll note the quotes, and perhaps you picked up on the irony. Prescription and OTC drugs are meant to be safer than illicit drugs. However, that’s only true when they are taken exactly as prescribed for the reasons prescribed. When misused or abused, prescription and OTC drugs can be addictive and put abusers at risk for adverse health effects, including overdose and death. In many cases these risks are pronounced when taken at the same time as other drugs or alcohol.
The classes of prescription drugs most commonly abused are the following:

  • Opioid pain relievers, such as Vicodin or Oxycontin
  • Stimulants for treating Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), such as Adderall, Concerta, or Ritalin
  • Central nervous system (CNS) depressants for relieving anxiety, such as Valium or Xanax
  • OTC drugs are cough and cold remedies containing dextromethorphan

What these medications have in common is the mind-altering properties that can be produced when taken other than prescribed (i.e. by a different person and/or in a different dose than prescribed). These can produce effects that some would describe as pleasurable, all the while causing other damage to your body.

 PrescriptionDrugsLarge

What I’d like to accomplish next is to advice you how your children or others with access to your medicine cabinet may be abusing drugs.
Taking a medication prescribed for somebody else. We all have heard time and again to never take medicine prescribed for someone else’s use. Unaware of the dangers of sharing medications in general or pain medications specifically, people often unknowingly participate in this form of abuse by sharing their unused pain relievers with friends and family members. In fact, most teenagers who abuse prescription drugs receive them for free by a friend or relative.
Taking a drug in a higher quantity or in another manner than prescribed. Most prescription drugs are dispensed orally in tablets, but abusers sometimes crush the tablets and snort or inject the powder. This hastens the entry of the drug into the bloodstream and the brain and amplifies its effects. This is dangerous and produces unintended effects, including death.
Taking a drug for another purpose than prescribed. All of the drug types mentioned can produce pleasurable effects at certain quantities, so taking them for the purpose of getting high is one of the main reasons people abuse them. Unfortunately they can also produce deadly effects at certain qualities. A common example is the use of ADHD drugs (e.g. Adderall) to improve students’ academic performance. Although these drugs may boost alertness, there is little evidence they improve cognitive functioning for those without ADHD. There is evidence they produce adverse effects under certain circumstances.

prescription addiction

Finally you should be concerned that prescription opioid abuse has been shown to be a first step to heroin use. Pain medications such as Oxycontin and Vicodin have effects similar to heroin. In three recent studies, nearly half of young people who inject heroin surveyed reported abusing prescription opioids before starting to use heroin. In fact, some individuals reported taking up heroin because it is cheaper and easier to obtain than prescription opioids.
In other words, pay attention to what’s happening with medications in your home and possession.
Feel free to ask any questions you may have on this topic.
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new book Behind The Curtain: A Peek at Life from within the ER at jeffreysterlingbooks.com, iTunes, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and wherever books are sold.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2016 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress
 

Straight, No Chaser In The News: A "Smart Drug" That's Actually Safe and Effective

smartdrugsmodafinil

When I hear medical news that’s too good to be true, it usually is. However science evolves, and new discoveries must be evaluated. Typically my first thought is “consider the source.” More often that not, the credibility of a claim is highly correlated with the credentials of the individual making it and/or the source publishing it. Another very important consideration is “does the discovery or proposed mechanism of action make sense in the context of what we know about anatomy, physiology and science?”

brainup

To that end, review of 24 existing studies on the topic and research at Harvard University and Oxford Universities have concluded that a safe and effective “smart drug” exists. This drug is named modafinil, and it is currently used for treatment of narcolepsy (a brain disorder that causes affected individuals to suddenly and uncontrollably fall asleep at inopportune times). You may have heard of “smart drugs” in the past, within the context of students using medications to enhance performance on tests – but this conversation goes beyond that use. This Straight, No Chaser will frame the conversation in “question and answer” form for your review. This is fascinating stuff!

smartpill

1. How does this drug work on the brain? The prevailing (and admittedly oversimplified) thoughts are that modafinil may increase blood flow to specific sections of the brain that control attention and learning, and it may enhance activity in areas of the brain that manage memory, problem-solving and reasoning skills. At this point specific effects on a cellular level are not well understood.

smartdrugsstupill

2. What does this drug do to make one “smarter?” The data is pretty clear that modafinil can enhance attention, improve decision-making abilities, improve learning, improve problem-solving capacity and make certain individuals think more creatively. Research has also shown that modafinil’s effect were even more pronounced the long and more complex the task, and it made completing tasks more pleasurable.

3. Has this drug been used in this context before now? Modafinil is licensed and prescribed in the UK as Provigil and has been used since 2002, although it is not prescribed as a “smart pill.” Surveys in respected journals note that 44% of those seeking drugs to improve focus prefer modafinil.

4. Is this drug safe? Answering these types of questions is typically what makes physicians start equivocating, but the answer appears to be yes. In the context of short-term use, modafinil has very few side effects and no demonstrated addictive qualities. Importantly, the drug appears to have miminal effect on mood. It is acknowledged that ongoing information is needed regarding long-term use and its effects. Regarding negative effects, one study in the review showed those already deemed “creative” saw a small drop in that creativity, but this was not a consistent finding.

5. Does it work in both healthy and unhealthy people? Modafinil appears to be safe and effective in health and unhealthy individuals.

smartdrugsRitalin-on-off-label

6. How does this compare to other “smart drugs” like Ritalin? Other drugs have a much more pronounced side effect profile than modafinil, meaning modafinil appears to be an overall safer drug.

7. Is this drug available? It’s available for use in narcolepsy but not in the context of improving performance. There really are two considerations. It would be difficult at best to obtain permission to conduct a research examining the long-term effects on the brain of such a drug; this presents a serious ethical dilemma. Similarly another ethical question is whether healthy individuals should be allowed to have access to a drug that improves performance when no problems exist? The manufacturer has indicated that they will not pursue license for modafinil in this context.

Stay tuned. I’m sure there will be much more to come on the topic. In the meantime, the smart choice would be to guard your overall health.
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new book Behind The Curtain: A Peek at Life from within the ER at jeffreysterlingbooks.com, iTunes, AmazonBarnes and Nobles and wherever books are sold.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook @ SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright, Sterling Initiatives, LLC. 2013-2015

Straight, No Chaser: Prescription Drug Abuse

PrescriptionDrugAbuse_logo

Many times over the years, I’ve had to explain to patients such as chronic sufferers from migraines, low back pain and other conditions that even if they weren’t “drug-seeking,” they still could be addicted to various medications. In the conversation about the drugs that are most frequently abused, once you get past marijuana and alcohol, you’re talking about prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs. Think about it, if you can get a physician to prescribe pain or other medications with mind-altering properties (known as psychoactive medications), it’s a relatively simple way to get a “clean” supply of “high-quality” drugs.
Now if you paid attention to that last sentence, you’ll note the quotes, and perhaps you picked up on the irony. Prescription and OTC drugs are meant to be safer than illicit drugs. However, that’s only true when they are taken exactly as prescribed for the reasons prescribed. When misused or abused, prescription and OTC drugs can be addictive and put abusers at risk for adverse health effects, including overdose and death. In many cases these risks are pronounced when taken at the same time as other drugs or alcohol.
The classes of prescription drugs most commonly abused are the following:

  • Opioid pain relievers, such as Vicodin or Oxycontin
  • Stimulants for treating Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), such as Adderall, Concerta, or Ritalin
  • Central nervous system (CNS) depressants for relieving anxiety, such as Valium or Xanax
  • OTC drugs are cough and cold remedies containing dextromethorphan

What these medications have in common is the mind-altering properties that can be produced when taken other than prescribed (i.e. by a different person and/or in a different dose than prescribed). These can produce effects that some would describe as pleasurable, all the while causing other damage to your body.

 PrescriptionDrugsLarge

What I’d like to accomplish next is to advice you how your children or others with access to your medicine cabinet may be abusing drugs.
Taking a medication prescribed for somebody else. We all have heard time and again to never take medicine prescribed for someone else’s use. Unaware of the dangers of sharing medications in general or pain medications specifically, people often unknowingly participate in this form of abuse by sharing their unused pain relievers with friends and family members. In fact, most teenagers who abuse prescription drugs receive them for free by a friend or relative.
Taking a drug in a higher quantity or in another manner than prescribed. Most prescription drugs are dispensed orally in tablets, but abusers sometimes crush the tablets and snort or inject the powder. This hastens the entry of the drug into the bloodstream and the brain and amplifies its effects. This is dangerous and produces unintended effects, including death.
Taking a drug for another purpose than prescribed. All of the drug types mentioned can produce pleasurable effects at certain quantities, so taking them for the purpose of getting high is one of the main reasons people abuse them. Unfortunately they can also produce deadly effects at certain qualities. A common example is the use of ADHD drugs (e.g. Adderall) to improve students’ academic performance. Although these drugs may boost alertness, there is little evidence they improve cognitive functioning for those without ADHD. There is evidence they produce adverse effects under certain circumstances.

prescription addiction

Finally you should be concerned that prescription opioid abuse has been shown to be a first step to heroin use. Pain medications such as Oxycontin and Vicodin have effects similar to heroin. In three recent studies, nearly half of young people who inject heroin surveyed reported abusing prescription opioids before starting to use heroin. In fact, some individuals reported taking up heroin because it is cheaper and easier to obtain than prescription opioids.
In other words, pay attention to what’s happening with medications in your home and possession.
Feel free to contact your SMA expert consultant for any questions you may have on this topic.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what 844-SMA-TALK and http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, Facebook @ SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2014 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress.