Thursday, September 18, 2014
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The competitive advantage of Adderall

If you're wondering what performance-enhancing advantage suspended Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz might have received from taking the amphetamine Adderall, there is a terrific story by Larry Stone in Wednesday's edition of the Seattle Times.

The competitive advantage of Adderall

Carlos Ruiz drives in a run in the first inning against the Marlins on Tuesday. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)
Carlos Ruiz drives in a run in the first inning against the Marlins on Tuesday. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)

If you're wondering what performance-enhancing advantage suspended Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz might have received from taking the amphetamine Adderall, there is a terrific story by Larry Stone in Wednesday's edition of the Seattle Times.

In the story, Dr. Gary Wadler, a past chairman of the World Anti-Doping Agency's Prohibited List Committee, goes into great detail about why the medication used to treat ADHD -- attention deficit hyperactivty disorder -- is considered a performance-enhancing drug.

"It masks fatigue, masks pain, increases arousal — like being in The Zone," Wadler told Stone. "It increases alertness, aggressiveness, attention and concentration. It improves reaction time, especially when fatigued. Some think it enhances hand-eye coordination. Some believe it increases the mental aspects of performance."

Wadler, an associate professor of medicine at Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine, described Adderall as "one of the quintessential performance-enhancing drugs. There's no question it's a performance-enhancing drug."

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The doctor was also skeptical about the total number of baseball players who have been approved to use Adderall and the amphetamine Ritalin through Theraputic Use Exemptions because they were diagnosed with ADHD. That number was 105 players in 2011.

"I'm an internist, and I see lots of patients," Wadler said. "I can count on one hand the number I've seen over the years who had (ADHD) to such a degree that they required medicine."

Wadler added  that ADHD has become "the diagnosis du jour in our society.

Bob Brookover Inquirer Columnist
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