The government, pharmaceutical industry, and national medical organizations need to work together to look at the harms and benefits of long-term use of cognitive-enhancing drugs by healthy individuals, say neuroscientists Professor Barbara Sahakian and Dr Sharon Morein-Zamir from the University of Cambridge in the UK, writing in a Personal View in The Lancet Psychiatry.

There is growing “lifestyle use” of cognitive-enhancing drugs — such as methylphenidate (marketed as Ritalin) and modafinil (marketed as Provigil) — by healthy individuals to improve concentration, memory, and other aspects of cognitive performance. But very little is known about the long-term effects of this non-medical use, say the authors.

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