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To Your Health: NLM update Transcript

Adderall's safety on campus: 01/23/2018

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Greetings from the National Library of Medicine and MedlinePlus.gov

Regards to all our listeners!

I'm Rob Logan, Ph.D., senior staff, U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM).

Here is what's new this week in To Your Health, a consumer health oriented podcast from NLM, that helps you use MedlinePlus to follow up on weekly topics.

The misuse and problems associated with prescription Adderall are described as common in college athletics and on some university campuses, in a recent article published in Sports Illustrated.

Sports Illustrated explains while Adderall is a banned substance under the National Collegiate Athletic Association's policies, college athletes are permitted to take the drug (which helps them concentrate and allegedly improve performance) if it is otherwise prescribed for individual use.

While Sports Illustrated focuses on a current investigation of alleged prescription misuse by the University of Georgia's tennis team, the magazine notes it is common in many U.S. universities for athletes (and other students) to take Adderall without a prescription. Sports Illustrated reports the source of the focus-enhancing drug often is another student.

In fact, a 2016 study in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry found the nonmedical use of Adderall increased 67 percent and emergency department visits related to the drug rose almost 156 percent between 2006 and 2011. The study also suggests the source for nonmedical use is a friend or relative who obtains Adderall prescriptions from a physician.

The National Council on Patient Information and Education (in a website accessible by typing 'Adderall' on MedlinePlus.gov's home page) explains college students use prescription stimulants (such as Adderall) to 'get in the zone' or pull an all-night study session. The site adds full time college students are twice as likely to use a stimulant for non-medical reasons compared to part-time students or peers who are not in college.

The National Council on Patient Information and Education additionally reports students who take prescription drugs for non-medical reasons are about five times more likely to risk eventual drug abuse compared to peers who abstain.

Meanwhile, MedlinePlus.gov explains Adderall is a combination of dextroamphetamine and amphetamine. MedlinePlus.gov's drugs and supplements page explains the latter combination can be habit forming. The drugs and supplements page also warns to not sell, give away, or let others take Adderall if it prescribed for you.

Otherwise, MedlinePlus.gov reports Adderall is intended to be prescribed within evidence-based treatment programs to control attention deficit hyperactivity disorder as well as narcolepsy, a sleep disorder, for adults and children beyond age 12.

MedlinePlus.gov reports among Adderall's serious side effects are: seizures; anxiety; shortness of breath; chest pains; a fast and pounding heartbeat; as well as aggressive behavior towards others.

MedlinePlus.gov adds an Adderall prescription is not refillable; you need to schedule an appointment with a physician to be re-supplied.

Overall, the challenges surrounding Adderall and the quick access to information about its safe use illustrate the utility of MedlinePlus.gov's handy drugs and supplements section, which is written for consumers and is easy to understand.

You can find the drugs and supplements section on the left side of MedlinePlus.gov's home page. To find Adderall, just search under the alphabetical listings. Please use the same process to obtain useful information about any prescription drug or supplement.

While we normally derive podcast topics from medical research journals, it strikes us as important when a national magazine identifies and underscores a pressing health problem among young adults. We appreciate Sports Illustrated's attention to the impact of Adderall among college students and athletes and the magazine's efforts to foster awareness about the abuse of prescription medications.

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The National Library of Medicine is one of 27 institutes and centers within the National Institutes of Health. The National Institutes of Health is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

A disclaimer — the information presented in this program should not replace the medical advice of your physician. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any disease without first consulting with your physician or other health care provider.

It was nice to be with you and best wishes for the new year. Please join us here next week and here's to your health!