Methylphenidate: Therapeutic use, Treatment. Methylphenidate rehab.

Last modified: Saturday, 20. June 2009 - 12:56 pm

Official names: Methylphenidate, Ritalin, Methylin, Metadate, Concerta
Street names: Vitamin R, West Coast
Drug classifications: Schedule II, stimulant


Key terms

ATTENTION DEFICIT HYPERACTIVITY DISORDER (ADHD): A mental disorder characterized by persistent impulsive behavior, difficulty concentrating, and hyper-activity that causes lowered social, academic, or occupational functioning.
national substance abuse education and prevention program.
NARCOLEPSY: A rare, chronic sleep disorder characterized by constant daytime fatigue and sudden attacks of sleep.
NEUROTRANSMITTER: Chemical in the brain that transmits messages between neurons, or nerve cells.
SYNAPSE: The gap between communicating nerve cells.



Methylphenidate (MPH), one of the most commonly prescribed psychoactive drugs in the United States, is the drug of choice for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children, adolescents, and adults. It is also a drug of choice for thieves: MPH is on the U.S. Department of Justice’s Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) list of the top 10 prescription drugs most often stolen.
According to The Christian Science Monitor, legal use of MPH in the 1990s increased by about 700% between 1990 and 2000. However, as the legal usage of MPH increased, so did its abuse. That abuse is well documented among high school and college students who use it to overcome fatigue and to enhance memory, without realizing the drug’s dangers.
Children with ADHD are inattentive, impulsive, and hyperactive. The areas of their brains that control attention and restraint do not function properly. Stimulant drugs, specifically amphetamines, have been used in the United States to treat children with inattention and hyperactivity disorders since the 1930s. MPH was also discovered to have a calming effect on hyperactive children and a “focusing” effect on those with attention deficit disorder (ADD). However, it was not until the 1960s that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved methylphenidate for the treatment of ADHD. At the turn of the twenty-first century, approximately 90% of all methylphenidate was prescribed for ADHD children. Most of the rest was prescribed to treat adults with a sleeping sickness known as narcolepsy.
Estimates suggest that 6-7% of all American school-age children were being prescribed MPH for behavior problems in 2002. Although the exact amount of MPH abuse is unknown, experts agree its prevalence is low compared to cocaine abuse, but warn that the number of new cases of methylphenidate abuse is growing. In 2001, Terrace Woodworth, DEA deputy director, told the U.S. Congress that the problem of MPH abuse is primarily a U.S. problem. The United States is the primary consumer of methylphenidate, producing and consuming about 85% of the entire world’s supply.
Unlike other amphetamine stimulants, MPH has not been clandestinely manufactured in homemade laboratories. According to the DEA, legally manufactured MPH has been diverted for illegal, non-prescription use. Police authorities report rising rates of illegal sales, prescription forgery, scams involving doctor shopping, and outright thefts of the drug. In a one-year period from 1996 to 1997, the DEA reports that 700,000 pills were stolen.

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