Why are amphetamines increasingly prescribed with other medications? Elizabeth Tracey reports


Polypharmacy is the term used to describe use of multiple medications, and it’s usually seen as people age and develop more health problems. Now a Johns Hopkins study shows that amphetamines are increasingly being used along with a range of other medications in those 19 to 64. Thomas Moore, one of the study’s authors, explains.

Mooore: One of our concerns is what we call the prescribing cascade. Suppose that a patient gets an antidepressant drug but one of those side effects could be too much sedation so a stimulant such as amphetamines or Adderall gets added to the combination but one of the problems with stimulants is that it can cause insomnia and so the next thing that happens is the sleeping medication gets added to the combination.                :28

Moore says no one knows the dangers of this type of polypharmacy and no guidance from professional groups exists, so the onus is on patients to ask questions. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.