‘Smart Drugs’ Underdeliver and Can Bring Trouble

(WebMD) One pill makes you larger, and one pill makes you … smarter? 

Whether you’re Alice in Wonderland heading down the rabbit hole or a high school or college student trying to achieve academic excellence, researchers have an important message for you: There is no such thing as a "smart pill." In fact, nonmedical use of prescription stimulants like Adderall or Ritalin by people without a prescription can lead to unintended outcomes, including poorer grades and substance abuse.

Findings from a recent study suggested that intentional “smart drug” use by people without ADHD and with normal mental skills did not improve those skills but, rather, had the opposite effect. Although otherwise healthy people in the study who took these drugs (Ritalin, Provigil, or Dexedrine) appeared to have more motivation, they needed more time and effort to complete a complicated task, compared to people taking a dummy (placebo) pill. 

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