Adderall Drug Controversy Continues

By Michael Dorausch, D.C.

Controversy surrounding the prescription stimulant medication Adderall has been in the press frequently this past week.

Adderall, a prescription amphetamine, typically prescribed for children and adults with ADHD, is becoming more popular for its off label uses. Among the many side effects for those taking Adderall, a decrease in appetite, insomnia, increased anxiety and irritability are all potentials.

pills pills pillsMany college students in the United States are well aware of Adderall’s recreational use. The potent brain stimulant has become popular for exam taking with some college kids apparently believing the drug will help them better concentrate and prepare for tests. There has long been controversy around the stimulants “cocaine like” affects on the body and health-care officials have warned against its use in anything other than its prescribed category.

Most of the news in the press lately has been around the actions of an Illinois medical doctor who reportedly has been prescribing Adderall to more than 800 overweight children and teenagers in order to get them to lose weight. According to news reports, the medical doctor has had great success with his patients losing weight while taking the drug, even though none were diagnosed with ADHD.

According to news reports, the effects of Adderall on non-ADHD patients have not been studied. Taking Adderall for weight loss seems like a rather radical and short-term solution to many critics. What about the long-term effects on the brain and neurotransmitters? Does popping pills provide one an easy out to changing nutritional habits and seeking a more healthy lifestyle? Are there other potentially life-threatening effects that have not surfaced yet?

According to various news and FDA reports, known side effects from Adderall can run from an increase in blood pressure and heart rate to slight risks of sudden death. Some critics feel it is morally and medically questionable to prescribe such a potent neurological stimulant for people trying to lose weight, especially young kids and children.

There is probably little argument that Adderall is effective in decreasing appetite just like marijuana is reportedly effective at increasing it. Maybe medical doctors will begin prescribing marijuana for kids who are too skinny and need to put on a few pounds. You may be thinking that’s crazy, marijuana is illegal and dangerous. However, if you’re living in my part of the world, you’d likely meet people thinking differently.

Here in Venice California, marijuana clinics are opening up at a greater rate than Starbucks (or at least that’s how it appears) thanks to California State marijuana legalization laws. According to current California state laws, no one can get medical marijuana without first seeing a medical doctor. Once you’ve seen your doctor and have your marijuana card, you’ll have access to marijuana cookies, pot brownies, THC lollipops, and all kinds of other creations containing the sweet leaf ganja bud.

On the topic of drugs that help people lose weight, cocaine is reportedly very effective in helping one lose weight and decreasing one’s appetite. Crystal methamphetamine is reportedly very effective in helping one lose weight as well. Certainly no medical doctor is going to suggest someone take cocaine or crystal methamphetamine for weight loss. The question is why. The obvious answer would be because the drugs are illegal in the United States. But what if they were not illegal (like the marijuana situation in California)?

Although I’ve said it a thousand times before, I’ll say it a thousand times again… drugs are drugs whether pushed or prescribed.

Here are some related articles found in the recent press…
ADHD drug use for youth obesity raises ethical questions
Adderall for overweight teens
Prescribing a problem: Part Two

Related Adderall Articles on Planet Chiropractic
Cocaine, Adderall, and Ritalin
Move Over Ritalin – Adderall is Twice as Potent
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