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Productivity in a pill’: what are smart drugs?

‘Smart drugs’ are a new phenomenon among students and professionals with stressful professions. Smart drugs are legal medicines that are only available on doctor’s prescription but are increasingly used without medical grounds. How widespread is this phenomenon?

Smart drugs are used as a performance-enhancing product. According to Harvard Business Review, a trade journal from the Harvard Business School, 20 percent of students at US top universities have tried smart drugs. In UK it is one in ten students. The British business newspaper Financial Times sees a similar development among professionals. For example, smart drugs would be popular among lawyers and bankers. Ritalin UK, Modafinil UK

Ritalin UK, Adderall UK, and Modafinil UK

The most famous medicine used as a smart drug is Ritalin. The drug has been developed for the treatment of behavioral disorders such as ADHD and ADD. Ritalin stimulates the central nervous system and increases the ability to concentrate. Adderall is a similar medicine with a slightly different effect. Modafinil, which is prescribed for sleep disorders and fatigue, is also used as a smart drug.

The effects of non-medical use vary considerably per person. Some users of Ritalin and Adderall say they can concentrate better, or notice an increased interest in normally ‘boring’ subjects.

Others experience just the opposite effect and perform soberly better. The same applies to Modafinil UK users. The medicine can increase alertness and motivation, while others quickly become distracted or feel no effect at all. Ritalin UK, Modafinil UK


Ritalin UK better focus, working memory and concentration – less creativity
Modafinil UK better concentration – monomania, sleep deprivation.
Prozac UK less impulsive, better mood, better moral decisions – flatter emotions, drowsiness
Gonadotropin improved physical performance – increased risk of diabetes

The finds have attracted the attention of ethicists and philosophers. For example, there are voices to eventually use such drugs in prisons. If the moral behavior of detainees can be improved, there is a chance that they will go wrong again. Ritalin UK, Modafinil UK


A group that advocates human enhancement, the transhumanists, even argue in favor of using these resources much more broadly. According to them, the whole society benefits from improved morale. It could breed more understanding for other cultures or even give people more feeling for problems like climate change.

The proponents state that the whole life revolves around learning good morale. That starts with education and education. Why should not medicines help?

However, many ethicists are wary of this. They argue that such drugs affect free will. The large-scale application is not likely in the short term anyway. Many of these drugs work only briefly, too short to make a real difference.
Moreover, the effect of many of these resources depends on the circumstances, and they can have an opposite effect. Ritalin UK, Modafinil UK

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