Neuroscientists from the University of Cambridge are urging pharmaceutical industries, medical organizations, and the government to evaluate the harms and benefits of long-term use of cognitive-enhancing drugs by healthy individuals. The Personal View article has been published in The Lancet Psychiatry.
Cognitive-enhancing drugs such as methylphenidate, modafinil, and donepezil are increasingly being used by healthy people to improve concentration, memory, and other cognitive aspects. However, not much is known on the long-term effects of this non-medical use as well as how and why healthy people are using these drugs. Limited data have shown student use in America with estimates varying 5–35%.
Most cognitive-enhancing drugs have indications to treat the effects of impaired cognition in conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and schizophrenia. Non-medical use raises issues of unpredictable side effects and potential abuse, researchers note. They believe the use of cognitive-enhancing drugs will likely grow and are calling on investors and policy makers for additional research on the potential advantages and dangers of use in healthy people.
For more information visit TheLancet.com.