Illicit use of Methylphenidate: the other side of the medical prescription
Keywords:Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, illicit use, intoxication, methylphenidate, pediatric age
Introduction/Objective: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is the most common neurobehavioral disorder of childhood. Parallel to the progress in the diagnosis, the prescription of psychostimulants, namely Methylphenidate (MPH), has also increased. The aim of this review is to promote reflection and debate on this issue, displaying its actual relevance in order to prevent and properly diagnose such cases in Portugal.
Results: In recent years, illicit use or misuse of MPH for recreational purposes or as a cognitive stimulant to improve academic achievement, has become a focus of concern. Easier accessibility, false belief that it is safer than illegal drugs because it’s prescription based as well a less social stigmatization promote this practice. Thus, treatment with MPH requires adequate medical indication and supervision, not only for its potential cardiovascular side effects and exacerbation of psychiatric disorders, but also due to the risk of illicit use and intoxication.
Conclusion: This article reviews the literature concerning MPH misuse. In order to counteract this emerging problem, of still unknown proportions in Portugal, it is crucial to invest in the information and awareness of adolescents, parents, health professionals, and educational community in general.
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