Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

MS in Physician Assistant Studies (PA)


Physician Assistant Studies

First Advisor

Holly Levine, MD


Prescription stimulants like Adderall and Ritalin are increasingly being diverted and misused by college students who fail to recognize the potential health risks in an effort to improve academic performance. The main aim of this literature review is to address the prevalence of their misuse, the effects they have on cognition, and adverse side effects that are typically associated with their use. Despite being frequently referred to as "cognitive enhancers" or "smart pills," results from studies on these m􏰗edications remain mixed/unclear as to whether cognitive domains such as memory, executive function, and processing speed are actually enhanced. However, not surprisingly, it has been made clear that both individuals with ADHD and individuals without ADHD see some benefit with regard to the cognitive domain of attention when using prescription stimulants. On top of the need for further studies, there is much ethical debate to be had regarding the use of these medications and their presence in academia and society.


SC 11.PAS.2020.Friederi.Z

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