JAMA States: “Pay Attention: Ritalin Acts Much Like Cocaine”

The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) is not known for being friendly to alternative medicine. However, a recently published article (JAMA 2001;286(8):905-6), describes something many have known or suspected for a long time: that Ritalin acts a lot like cocaine.

The article states that, although Ritalin has been prescribed to treat ADHD for forty years, “psychiatrists and pharmacologists have never known how it worked.” Quite a shocking admission, considering that an estimated 6 million American children are on the drug, some as young as four.

Through advanced imaging techniques, researchers found what the article calls “startling results”: that “instead of being a less potent transport inhibitor than cocaine, methylphenidate (Ritalin) was more potent,” and that “the data clearly show that the notion that Ritalin is a weak stimulant is completely incorrect.” The only significant difference between the two drugs is that Ritalin ├Čtakes about an hour to raise dopamine levels, whereas inhaled or injected cocaine hits the brain in seconds.

Finally, the author states that “the long-term dopamine effects of taking methylphenidate (Ritalin) for years, as many do, are unknown.” You may draw your own conclusions.

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