Warnings over rise in prescriptions for methylphenidate, as use of cognitive enhancers becomes common among students
Increased prescribing of methylphenidate has led the Care Quality Commission (CQC) to warn that supplies of the drug might be being diverted and misused as cognitive enhancers.
The drug is commonly used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, but the CQC warned about potential misuse of the drug in its annual report on controlled drugs.1
The report says that the CQC is “aware of the possibility that methylphenidate could be diverted and abused, and for this reason we recommend that its use should be monitored carefully.” It adds: “We are aware of reports in the media and scientific literature that it is being abused as a ‘smart’ drug to improve cognitive function; the long term risks of this practice are not known.”
The prescription of methylphenidate has increased steadily over the past 5 years. Between 2011 and 2012 there was an increase of 11% in primary and 24% in private