Weight Loss and ADHD Medications (part 2 of 2)

Reporting by the University of Maryland Center for Substance Abuse Research (CESAR) and Global Market For ADHD Medications Read more: (healthaffairs.org)

A history of appetite suppressants

The previous submission noted that Adderall, a drug frequently used to control ADHD symptoms, was a spin off of Obetrol used for weight loss in the 1950s and 1960s.

Ritalin was tested on humans in 1954. According to the University of Maryland Center for Substance Abuse Research (CESAR), “… In 1957, Ciba Pharmaceutical Company began marketing MPH as Ritalin to treat chronic fatigue, depression, psychosis associated with depression, narcolepsy, and to offset the sedating effects of other medications.

It was used into the 1960s to try to counteract the symptoms of barbiturate overdose… Research on the therapeutic value of Ritalin began in the 1950s, and by the 1960s, interest focused on the treatment of “hyperkinetic syndrome,” which would eventually be called Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.”

Lower doses of stimulant medication do seem to temporarily improve focus and reduce hyperkinetic behaviors. One must realize that their original use was not for ADHD, but for weight reduction and as drugs that could counter chronic fatigue. They are also Schedule II substances in the same class as cocaine. Thus, weight loss as a side-effect should be expected and dealt with appropriately after consulting your healthcare provider.

The US is estimated to consume the vast majority of these medications. According to the Global Market For ADHD Medications (healthaffairs.org), “In 1993, thirty-one countries had adopted the use of ADHD medications; by 2003, the number had grown to fifty-five. Our analysis aggregated data from individual countries from the year of adoption into a global sum. Because the United States is the single largest market, we also show its use, which constitutes 83–90 percent of total market share (by volume).”