Study author Dr. William Graf of Yale University in New Haven, Conn., said some parents request doctors to prescribe attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder drugs for their children who don't meet the criteria for ADHD, to help them study for tests.
"Doctors caring for children and teens have a professional obligation to always protect the best interests of the child, to protect vulnerable populations, and prevent the misuse of medication," Graf said in a statement. "The practice of prescribing these drugs, called neuroenhancements, for healthy students is not justifiable."
The American Academy of Neurology released a position paper that provided evidence to dozens of ethical, legal, social and developmental reasons why prescribing mind-enhancing drugs, such as those for ADHD, for healthy people is viewed differently in children and adolescents than it would be in functional, independent adults with full decision-making capacities.
The article noted many reasons against prescribing these drugs including: the child's best interest; the long-term health and safety of neuroenhancements, which has not been studied in children; kids and teens lacking complete decision-making capacities while their cognitive skills, emotional abilities and mature judgments are still developing; maintaining doctor-patient trust; and the risks of over-medication and dependency.
The findings were published in the journal Neurology.