Reining In the Pharmacological Enhancement Train: We Should Remain Vigilant about Regulatory Standards for Prescribing Controlled Substances
Article first published online: 11 MAY 2011
© 2011 American Society of Law, Medicine & Ethics, Inc.
The Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics
Volume 39, Issue 2, pages 272–279, Summer 2011
How to Cite
Drabiak-Syed, K. (2011), Reining In the Pharmacological Enhancement Train: We Should Remain Vigilant about Regulatory Standards for Prescribing Controlled Substances. The Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics, 39: 272–279. doi: 10.1111/j.1748-720X.2011.00596.x
- Issue published online: 11 MAY 2011
- Article first published online: 11 MAY 2011
This article challenges recent assumptions that physicians may ethically and legally prescribe psychopharmacological enhancement drugs to patients and the counterintuitive notion that in some cases ingesting an enhancement drug constitutes the more ethical choice than forgoing this option. Enhancement proponents have touted modafinil as an ideal mechanism to improve concentration, alertness, and forgo sleep and keep pace with our society's demands. However, patients who use modafinil for these reasons risk potentially severe side effects and addiction, and face unintended consequences related to their cognitive, emotive, and physiological functioning. Importantly, prescribing a controlled substance such as modafinil for performance enhancement and sleep avoidance runs contrary to a physician's ethical duty to the patient and the standard of practice set forth in legal requirements governing the prescription of controlled substances.