Comparing the abuse potential of methylphenidate versus other stimulants: A review of available evidence and relevance to the ADHD patient

Duke Child and Family Study Center, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27705, USA.
The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry (Impact Factor: 5.5). 02/2003; 64 Suppl 11:14-8.
Source: PubMed


The use of psychostimulants to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has been controversial for a number of reasons. In an effort to clarify the extent to which the psychostimulant methylphenidate has abuse potential, the existing published evidence has been reviewed and is summarized here, with an emphasis on delineating a number of related but independent issues that are often confused. Methylphenidate produces behavioral effects associated with abuse potential as assessed by traditional assays, but the relevance of this literature to the clinical use of the drug in the treatment of ADHD is ambiguous at best. Existing neuropharmacologic data suggest that methylphenidate has pharmacokinetic properties that reduce its abuse potential as compared with other stimulant drugs of abuse, such as cocaine.

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    • "Eur J Pharmacol (2015), administered intravenously by monkeys (Bergman et al., 1989) and rats (Nicholson et al., 2009) and in humans, bupropion increases arousal, mood and euphoria (Cousins et al., 2001). Methylphenidate is also known for its abuse potential (Kollins, 2003). Nevertheless, this has never been a reason to retract it from the market. "
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    • "Methylphenidate (MPD) enhances cognitive and behavioral function by acting, at least in part, on the prefrontal cortex (PFC). Recent reports state that the use of MPD as a cognitive enhancer has become widely abused among college students and adults.1–3 Due to the PFC’s critical role in higher cognitive functions, it is considered one of the main brain regions to respond to acute and chronic MPD administration.4,5 "
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    ABSTRACT: The prefrontal cortex (PFC) is part of the collective structures known as the motive circuit. The PFC acts to enhance higher cognitive functions as well as mediate the effects of psychostimulants. Previous literature shows the importance of PFC neuronal adaptation in response to acute and chronic psychostimulant exposure. The PFC receives input from other motive circuit structures, including the ventral tegmental area, which mediates and facilitates the rewarding effects of psychostimulant exposure. PFC neuronal and locomotor activity from freely behaving rats previously implanted with permanent semimicroelectrodes were recorded concomitantly using a telemetric (wireless) recording system. Methylphenidate (MPD) is used as a leading treatment for behavioral disorders and more recently as a cognitive enhancer. Therefore, the property of MPD dose response on PFC neuronal activity was investigated. The results indicate that MPD modulates PFC neuronal activity and behavioral activity in a dose-dependent manner. PFC neuronal responses to 0.6 mg/kg elicited mainly a decrease in PFC neuronal activity, while higher MPD doses (2.5 and 10.0 mg/kg) elicited mainly increased neuronal activity in response to MPD. The correlation between MPD effects on PFC neuronal activity and animal behavior is discussed.
    Journal of Experimental Pharmacology 02/2014; 6:1-9. DOI:10.2147/JEP.S53497
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    • "Like cocaine, MPH inhibits the DAT, which increases synaptic levels of DA, and this is presumed to mediate MPH's reinforcing effects and abuse potential. In laboratory studies, it has been shown that animals will repeatedly administer MPH as they do cocaine (Kollins 2003), and humans receiving both drugs indicate a similar " high " (Volkow et al. 1995). A frequent concern regarding the use of stimulants for ADHD is their mechanism of action, which increases DA and thus may increase the risk for overt, illicit drug use. "
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