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Workshop: The Addictive Potential and Challenges with "Smart Drugs": Nootropics

The fourth wave of the opioid epidemic is characterized by the rise of fentanyl derivatives, psychostimulants, designer benzodiazepines, and other novel psychoactive substances (NPSs). Many of these compounds are uniquely novel, but many are older or repurposed medications that continue as prescription drugs in countries outside of the United States. Nootropics, colloquially known as "smart drugs," are one group of these NPSs. Nootropics are deceptively marketed as cognitive enhancers for improving memory, concentration, and alertness despite having little evidence that they benefit cognition. The most common of these drugs is kratom. And while nootropics are marketed as "dietary supplements," others are prescription medications such as methylphenidate, amphetamines, and modafinil which come with their own risks.

In this 90-minute workshop, we will engage learners to discuss nootropics in order to identify and treat the misuse of these substances in our patient population. We want to familiarize attendees with four specific nootropics: tianeptine, phenibut, kratom, and modafinil. We will review the pharmacological and psychological properties of these substances. We will describe their prevalence, addictive potential, withdrawal symptoms, toxicity presentations, and management, including the potential use of medication-assisted treatment solutions. We will also discuss how manufacturers exploit poor FDA oversight and legal loopholes to market these compounds as "dietary supplements." Lastly, we will discuss the international reaction to these compounds, knowledge gaps, and areas for future research.

Learning Objectives
  • Review pharmacology, dosing, and adverse effects of MOUD in pregnant patients.
  • Select the most appropriate MOUD for pregnant patients.
  • Develop a treatment plan for pregnant patients with opioid use disorder.
Keywords / Topics
  • Cognitive enhancers
  • Nootropics
  • Smart Drugs
Akhil Anand, MD, Chairperson and Presenter
Dr. Anand is an Assistant Professor and Director of the University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center Addiction Psychiatry Fellowship Program.  

Jeremy Weleff , MD, Presenter

Dr. Weleff is an Addiction psychiatrist and public psychiatry fellow at Yale University School of Medicine. He completed an addiction psychiatry fellowship at Yale University School of Medicine. 

Julian Raffoul, MD, PhD, Presenter
Julian J. Raffoul, MD, PhD, is an Addiction Psychiatry Fellow at Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Availability: On-Demand
Cost: FREE
Credit Offered:
No Credit Offered
American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry
The content on this site is intended solely to inform and educate medical professionals. This site shall not be used for medical advice and is not a substitute for the advice or treatment of a qualified medical professional.

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