NASET News Alert
Research Suggests That Ritalin May Be AddictiveFebruary 04, 2009
Ritalin, a drug commonly used to treat children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), caused changes in the brain cells of mice similar to those seen with cocaine, a new study shows. The researchers, from The Rockefeller University in New York City, said the findings suggest that chronic exposure to Ritalin in high doses could prove addictive, and highlight the need for more research into its long-term effects. However, one ADHD expert said he doubted the findings were applicable to children with the condition because the doses used in the study were so high. Indeed, in experiments with mice, the researchers found that Ritalin in doses higher than those prescribed to treat ADHD caused changes in the reward region of the brain in a way comparable to cocaine. Ritalin and cocaine are both psycho-stimulants, the researchers noted. "Methylphenidate [Ritalin] and cocaine have similar chemical structures and their pharmacological effects appear to be similar," said study author Yong Kim, a senior research associate at The Rockefeller University.
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