Perceived cognitive performance in off-prescription users of modafinil and methylphenidate: an online survey

Journal article


Teodorini, R., Rycroft, N. and Smith-Spark, J. (2024). Perceived cognitive performance in off-prescription users of modafinil and methylphenidate: an online survey. Brain and Behavior. 14 (2), p. e3403. https://doi.org/10.1002/brb3.3403
AuthorsTeodorini, R., Rycroft, N. and Smith-Spark, J.
Abstract

Introduction
Modafinil and methylphenidate are used off-prescription for cognitive enhancement in healthy individuals. Such use is often reported in online surveys, but it is unclear whether drug use for cognitive enhancement is motivated by perceived poor cognitive performance or a desire to improve good cognitive performance. The current study investigated whether off-prescription users of modafinil and methylphenidate differed in their self-perceived cognitive performance from people who do not take these drugs.
Method
An online survey targeting forum sites assessed self-perceived cognitive function via the Adult Attention Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder Self-Report Scale, the Cognitive Failures Questionnaire, and the General Procrastination Scale.
Results
There were 249 respondents, of whom 43% reported no use of modafinil and methylphenidate (the control group) and 58% reported use of one or both drugs without a prescription for cognitive enhancement. This created an independent samples design with three groups. On both the Adult Attention Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder Self-Report Scale and General Procrastination Scale, modafinil and methylphenidate users reported higher scores than the control group, indicating higher levels of perceived inattention and procrastination. Scores on the Cognitive Failures Questionnaire indicated that modafinil and methylphenidate users rated themselves as having fewer cognitive failures than controls.
Conclusion
These findings suggest that at least some reported off-prescription users of modafinil and methylphenidate may be seeking to reduce the impact of self-perceived poorer performance, particularly in forms of cognition that are likely to impact on self-directed or self-motivated work.

Keywordsmodafinil, methylphenidate, off-prescription, cognitive performance
Year2024
JournalBrain and Behavior
Journal citation14 (2), p. e3403
PublisherWiley
ISSN 2157-9032
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1002/brb3.3403
Web address (URL)https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/brb3.3403
Publication dates
Print04 Feb 2024
Publication process dates
Accepted03 Jan 2024
Deposited22 Feb 2024
Publisher's version
License
File Access Level
Open
Accepted author manuscript
License
File Access Level
Controlled
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