Sales of the ADHD drug Ritalin rose spectacularly last year. Figures from the Medical Institute for Statistics (IMS), which De Morgen could look into, show that in 2008 more than 14.8 million pills of Ritalin were sold. Rilatine, smart drugs uk
Sales of other so-called ‘smart drugs’ also peaked last year. Specialists point to the improper use of the often heavy medication, especially in student environments.
Medicines that affect the functioning of the brain are also becoming increasingly popular in Belgium. In the US the ‘cognition drugs’ or ‘smart drugs’ are a real hype. Not only in students, but also in working environments, stimulating or concentration-enhancing drugs such as Ritalin UK or Provigil UK are making a spectacular advance. Rilatine, smart drugs uk
In addition, the use of Alzheimer medication such as Aricept is on the rise. The medicine would improve short-term memory and, therefore, be used more and more in student environments and in working environments, for example in people who have to give a presentation.
Out of all proportion
According to the data from the IMS, Belgium does not escape that trend, on the contrary. The most spectacular is the use of Ritalin. Over the past five years, the number of Ritalin pills sold increased from 9.6 million to over 14.8 million. At the beginning of the 1990s barely 200,000 Ritalin pills were taken every year. Novartis, the pharmaceutical company that markets Ritalin, is doing good business. Over the past five years, Novartis has seen the total sales price for Ritalin rise from 2.1 million euro (2004) to 7.3 million euro (2008).
“Everyone sees that these figures are out of all proportion,” says the Ghent professor of pharmacology Marc Bogaert. “Children who can not sit well and get the stamp quickly, swallow the medicine, but at the same time you also see that Ritalin is increasingly being used as a stimulant in student environments” Rilatine, smart drugs uk
Smart drugs UK
Other medicines from the same group as ritalin also have a spectacular increase in sales. For example the sale of Provigil, a medicine that is reserved for people with narcolepsy, a neurological disorder in which the patient falls irresistibly to sleep at unexpected times. Over the past four years, the number of pills sold has doubled from 141,000 to 287,000. “Narcolepsy remains an exceptional condition that has been known for some time,” says Professor Bogaert. “A sudden doubling of the number of patients is highly unlikely, and there too the explanation may lie with the use of a performance-enhancing medicine.” In student environments, this medication has taken the place of captain. ”
Medicines such as Aricept, which are given to patients with Alzheimer’s disease, are also placed under the label ‘smart drugs’ in the US. Whether such medicines in Belgium are swallowed for their supposed positive effect on the short-term memory has not been investigated. The IMS figures do show a spectacular increase in use. In 2004, 3 million pills Aricept well over the counter. In the past year, there were already 5.2 million. Producer Pfizer saw the total sales price rise from 10.4 to 16.5 million euros in parallel. Rilatine, smart drugs uk
Not a panacea
Professor Bogaert, however, doubts whether the increasing sales of Aricept is due to using as a smart drug. “The effect of Aricept is completely different from the effects of Ritalin UK or Provigil UK,” says Marc Bogaert. “The sharp rise may be due to the increasing aging and improper use of people who have forgotten a name but are not yet suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. It is a misuse, but may not be comparable to the way in which medicines such as Ritalin are used improperly. ” In 2008, 14.8 million rilatine pills were sold. (Tom Cochez) Rilatine, smart drugs uk