The American Academy of Neurology (AAN) has spoken out against the prescribing of medications that treat attention deficit disorder to boost the cognitive abilities and memories of healthy children, saying that the practice is misguided. Neurology is the medical science dealing with the physiology and diseases of the nervous system.
Recent headlines in the United States reveal that a growing number of teens are using ADHD medications as “study drugs” before tests. The Acadamy's statement about this trend was published in the March 13, 2013 online issue of Neurology, the medical journal published by the American Academy of Neurology.
The statement analyzes several years of research and ethical issues related to healthy children and adolescents using ADHD drugs. The Academy's neurologists have a separate position paper on the use of ADHD drugs by adults.
The article lists many reasons why doctors should not prescribe neuroenhancement drugs, such as:
- The drugs are not in the child’s best interest
- Concerns about long-term health and safety effects, which have not been studied in children
- Children and teens are still developing cognitive and emotional skills and may lack the ability to make decisions about medication
- The risks of drug dependency and overmedication
“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.