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Prescription Drug Abuse

Treating addiction to prescription stimulants

Treatment of addiction to prescription stimulants, such as Adderall and Concerta, is based on behavioral therapies used in treating cocaine and methamphetamine addiction. At this time, there are no medications that are FDA-approved for treating stimulant addiction. Thus, NIDA is supporting research in this area.

Depending on the patient's situation, the first steps in treating prescription stimulant addiction may be to taper the drug dosage and attempt to ease withdrawal symptoms. The detoxification process could then be followed by behavioral therapy. Contingency management, for example, uses a system that enables patients to earn vouchers for drug-free urine tests. (These vouchers can be exchanged for items that promote healthy living.) Cognitive-behavioral therapy also may be an effective treatment for addressing stimulant addiction. Finally, recovery support groups may be helpful in conjunction with behavioral therapy.

This page was last updated October 2011

Treating addiction to prescription stimulants

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National Institute on Drug Abuse (2011). Treating addiction to prescription stimulants. In Prescription Drug Abuse. Retrieved from http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/prescription-drugs/treating-prescription-drug-addiction/treating-addiction-to-prescription-stim

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​Research Reports

This series of reports simplifies the science of research findings for the educated lay public, legislators, educational groups, and practitioners. The series reports on research findings of national interest.