Prescription Stimulants

Know the facts about prescription stimulants and connect with help and support to keep your child safe.

What are some slang terms or prescription brand names?
Addy, Bennies, Speed, Uppers, Adderall, Ritalin, Vyvanse, Concerta, Desoxyn, Didrex, Recede, Dexedrine, ProCentra, Dextrostat, Methylin, Daytrana, Focalin, Suprenza, Adipex-P, Nuvigil, Bontril
See table below for a more complete list.

What are they?
A class of drugs that enhance brain activity. Prescription stimulants were used historically to treat asthma, obesity, neurological disorders, and a variety of other ailments, before their potential for abuse and addiction became apparent.

What do they look like?
Tablets and capsules, often in blister packs or prescription pill bottles.

How are they used?
Medically, they are now prescribed for only a few health conditions, including narcolepsy, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and short-term treatment of obesity.

What do young people hear about it?
Some students hear that prescription stimulants (those that have not been prescribed to them specifically) can help them focus and perform better academically. Many teens and young adults are under the mistaken impression that because prescription stimulants came from a doctor that they’re safe or safer than ‘street drugs.’

What are the risks?
It’s dangerous for anyone to take prescription medication not prescribed to them. Stimulants increase the amount of natural chemical messengers called norepinephrine and dopamine in the brain. This in turn increases blood pressure and heart rate, constricts blood vessels, increases blood glucose, and increases breathing — which can cause rapid or irregular heartbeat, delirium, panic, psychosis, paranoia and heart failure. There is also the potential for cardiovascular failure (heart attack) or deadly seizures. Stimulants can be addictive in that individuals begin to use them compulsively.

What are signs of use?

  • Hyperactivity
  • Intense irritability
  • Increased hostility
  • Insomnia
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • High blood pressure
  • Paranoia
  • Unexplained weight loss

List of Brand Names & Slang Terms

 Generic Drug Composition Brand Name
Methamphetamine Desoxyn
Amphetamine/Dextroamphetamine Adderall
Benzphetamine Didrex, Recede
Dextroamphetamine Dexedrine, ProCentra, Dextrostat
Lisdexamfetamine Vyvanse
Methylphenidate Concerta, Methylin, Ritalin, Daytrana
Dexmethylphenidate Focalin, FocalinXR
Phentermine Suprenza, Adipex-P
Armodafinil Nuvigil
Phendimetrazine Bontril

Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA); Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA)

Next Steps

Prepare to Take Action

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