If you take a medicine in a way that is different from what the doctor prescribed, it is called prescription drug misuse. It could be
- Taking a medicine that was prescribed for someone else
- Taking a larger dose than you are supposed to
- Taking the medicine in a different way than you are supposed to. This might be crushing tablets and then snorting or injecting them.
- Using the medicine for another purpose, such as getting high
Misusing some prescription drugs can lead to addiction. These include opioids, sedatives, tranquilizers, and stimulants.
Every medicine has some risk of side effects. Doctors take this into account when prescribing medicines. People who misuse these drugs may not understand the risks. The medicines may not be safe for them, especially at higher doses or when taken with other medicines.
NIH: National Institute on Drug Abuse
Diagnosis and Tests
Treatments and Therapies
- How Can Prescription Drug Addiction Be Treated? (National Institute on Drug Abuse) Also in Spanish
- Seeking Drug Abuse Treatment: Know What to Ask (National Institute on Drug Abuse) Also in Spanish
- What to Do If Your Teen or Young Adult Has a Problem with Drugs (National Institute on Drug Abuse)
- Anabolic Steroids: MedlinePlus Health Topic (National Library of Medicine) Also in Spanish
- Benzodiazepines (Drug Enforcement Administration)
- Stimulant ADHD Medications -- Methylphenidate and Amphetamines (National Institute on Drug Abuse) - PDF Also in Spanish
Statistics and Research
- Abuse of Prescription (Rx) Drugs Affects Young Adults Most (National Institute on Drug Abuse)
- Emergency Department Visits Involving Nonmedical Use of Central Nervous System Stimulants among Adults Aged 18 to 34 Increased between 2005 and 2011 (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) - PDF
- Popping Pills: Prescription Drug Abuse in America (National Institute on Drug Abuse) - PDF
- State and Substate Estimates of Nonmedical Use of Prescription Pain Relievers (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration)
- Which Classes of Prescription Drugs Are Commonly Misused? (National Institute on Drug Abuse) Also in Spanish
Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
- Article: Associations between stopping prescriptions for opioids, length of opioid treatment, and...
- Article: Prescription Opioid Prescribing in Western Europe and the United States.
- Article: Prescription drug diversion, misuse, and abuse among people living with HIV:...
- Prescription Drug Misuse -- see more articles
- Depressants (Nemours Foundation) Also in Spanish
- Misuse of Prescription Pain Relievers: The Buzz Takes Your Breath Away. Permanently. (Food and Drug Administration)
- Prescription Drug Abuse (Nemours Foundation)
- Prescription Drugs (National Institute on Drug Abuse)
- Study Drugs (Nemours Foundation) Also in Spanish
- What to Do If You Have a Problem with Drugs: For Teens and Young Adults (National Institute on Drug Abuse)