Attention deficit medication helps drug addicts: study

July 26, 2010

The active ingredient in Ritalin, a medication used to control the symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, could help boost self-control in cocaine addicts, a study published Monday showed.

Yale University psychiatry professor Chiang-shan Ray Li administered Ritalin's active ingredient, methylphenidate, to volunteers who were addicted to cocaine, and asked the participants to perform a computer test that assessed .

The participants were instructed to quickly press a button whenever a "go" prompt appeared on the screen.

But randomly during the test, the "go" prompt was rapidly followed by a "stop" prompt, indicating that the subjects should resist the impulse to press "go."

Study participants who were given methylphenidate were better able to resist pressing the button than were participants who were given a placebo, the study published in the found.

"The main finding of this work is that improved inhibitory control in cocaine-dependent patients," the study says, suggesting that the active ingredient in Ritalin should be investigated as a treatment for disorders such as addictions, which are related to self-control deficits.

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Glucocorticoids offer long-term benefits for patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy

November 22, 2017
Glucocorticoids, a class of steroid hormone medications often prescribed to patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), offer long-term benefits for this disease, including longer preservation of muscle strength and ...

Baby-boomers and millennials more afflicted by the opioid epidemic

November 21, 2017
Baby-boomers, those born between 1947 and 1964, experienced an excess risk of prescription opioid overdose death and heroin overdose death, according to latest research at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. ...

Sensor-equipped pill raises technological, ethical questions

November 17, 2017
The first drug with a sensor embedded in a pill that alerts doctors when patients have taken their medications was approved by the Food and Drug Administration, raiding issues involving privacy, cost, and whether patients ...

New painkillers reduce overdose risk

November 16, 2017
Scientists on the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have developed new opioid pain relievers that reduce pain on par with morphine but do not slow or stop breathing—the cause of opiate overdose.

Separating side effects could hold key for safer opioids

November 16, 2017
Opioid pain relievers can be extremely effective in relieving pain, but can carry a high risk of addiction and ultimately overdose when breathing is suppressed and stops. Scientists have discovered a way to separate these ...

US regulators approve first digital pill to track patients

November 14, 2017
U.S. regulators have approved the first drug with a sensor that alerts doctors when the medication has been taken, offering a new way of monitoring patients but also raising privacy concerns.

3 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

MichaelExe
5 / 5 (1) Jul 26, 2010
Give the addicts more drugs they can get high off of and addicted to!

It seems pretty obvious that Ritalin could be used to treat addiction, because an addiction is an impulsion, obsession and compulsion (not that these are mutually exclusive). Stimulants, dopamine releasing agents and dopamine reuptake inhibitors all have potential in mitigating obsessions (including suicidal ones) but also the potential of becoming obsessions themselves.
Megadeth312
4 / 5 (1) Jul 26, 2010
lol.

isn't that just trading a coke addiction with a meth addiction??
yyz
4 / 5 (1) Jul 26, 2010
It is rather curious to employ a dopamine-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor(Ritalin) to treat an addiction to a dopamine-norepinephrine-serotonin reuptake inhibitor(cocaine). Though Ritalin is less potent and has a lower potential for addiction than cocaine, the treatment seems to be akin to that of methadone & heroin(i.e. moving the addict from a street drug to a pharmaceutical while maintaining the addiction, at least in the early phases).

To echo MichaelExe's point, Ritalin has the potential for psychological and physical addiction.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.