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Rev Assoc Med Bras. 2013 May-Jun;59(3):285-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ramb.2012.10.007. Epub 2013 May 13.

Use of methylphenidate among medical students: a systematic review.

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  • 1Medical School, Universidade de Caxias do Sul UCS, Caxias do Sul, RS, Brazil.



To review the effects of methylphenidate on cognitive enhancement, memory, and performance in medical students.


A review of four databases (LILACS, PubMed, ScienceDirect, and SciELO), analyzing the title and abstract of all articles published between 1990 and 2012 in English, Portuguese, and Spanish. Selected articles were read in entirety, including in the review those that met the established criteria.


The prevalence of use among medical students reached 16%, with no gender difference. Most students began using the drug after entering the university, and the reasons cited to justify it are related to enhancing academic performance.


There is no evidence in the literature that the use of methylphenidate is beneficial in terms of memory or learning. The drug simply increases wakefulness and alertness, reducing the time of sleep.

Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Editora Ltda. All rights reserved.

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