Prescription Stimulants

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

What are stimulants?
Stimulants are 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.1

What are some slang terms for stimulants?
Addy, Bennies, Speed, Uppers

What are some common brand names of prescription stimulant medication?
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 >>

Signs of Stimulant Use:
  • Hyperactivity
  • Intense irritability
  • Increased hostility
  • Insomnia
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • High blood pressure
  • Paranoia
  • Unexplained weight loss
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Related Drugs:

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

How are stimulants 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.2

What do young people hear about stimulants?
Some students hear that prescription stimulants (those that have not been prescribed to them specifically) can help them focus and perform better academically. They are sometimes dubbed “study drugs.” 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 of stimulant use?
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.2

Common Stimulant Medications

 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
1Drugs of Abuse | A DEA Resource Guide: 2017 Edition. “Amphetamines.” Drug Enforcement Agency, 2017. Web. Accessed 26 Oct. 2018.
2NIDA. “Prescription Stimulants.” National Institute on Drug Abuse, 6 Jun. 2018, Accessed 1 Nov. 2018.
Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA); Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA); U.S. National Library of Medicine
Reviewed & Updated: August 15, 2018

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