Prescription “Study Drugs” Do Not Improve Cognition in Students Without ADHD

Adderall and Ritalin are stimulants commonly prescribed to people with attention-deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) to improve attention and focus. But college students without ADHD are increasingly using them as “study drugs” in the hopes of boosting memory and learning. A new study looks at the trend. 

July 2018  – CONTRARY TO POPULAR BELIEF across college campuses, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) medications may fail to improve cognition in healthy students and actually can impair functioning, according to a study by researchers at the University of Rhode Island and Brown University.

Study co-investigators Lisa Weyandt, professor of psychology and a faculty member with URI’s George and Anne Ryan Institute for Neuroscience, and Tara White, assistant professor of research in behavioral and social sciences at Brown University, had anticipated different findings. “We hypothesized that Adderall would enhance cognition in the healthy students, but instead, the medication did not improve reading comprehension or fluency, and it impaired working memory,” Weyandt said. “Not only are they not benefitting from it academically, but it could be negatively affecting their performance.”

Read the full story on URI Today