If you take a medicine in a way that is different from what the doctor prescribed, it is called prescription drug misuse. It could be:
- Taking a medicine that was prescribed for someone else
- Taking a larger dose than you are supposed to
- Taking the medicine in a different way than you are supposed to. This might be crushing tablets and then snorting or injecting them.
- Using the medicine for another purpose, such as getting high
Misusing some prescription drugs can lead to addiction. These include opioids, sedatives, tranquilizers, and stimulants.
Every medicine has some risk of side effects. Doctors take this into account when prescribing medicines. People who misuse these drugs may not understand the risks. The medicines may not be safe for them, especially at higher doses or when taken with other medicines.
NIH: National Institute on Drug Abuse
- Prescription CNS (Central Nervous System) Depressants DrugFacts (National Institute on Drug Abuse)
- Prescription Drug Abuse (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research) Also in Spanish
- Prescription Stimulants DrugFacts (National Institute on Drug Abuse)
- Anabolic Steroids: MedlinePlus Health Topic (National Library of Medicine) Also in Spanish
- Benzodiazepines (Drug Enforcement Administration)
- Stimulant ADHD Medications -- Methylphenidate and Amphetamines (National Institute on Drug Abuse) - PDF Also in Spanish
Statistics and Research
- Emergency Department Visits Involving Nonmedical Use of Central Nervous System Stimulants among Adults Aged 18 to 34 Increased between 2005 and 2011 (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) - PDF
- What Is the Scope of Prescription Drug Misuse in the United States? (National Institute on Drug Abuse) Also in Spanish
- Which Classes of Prescription Drugs Are Commonly Misused? (National Institute on Drug Abuse) Also in Spanish
Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
- Article: Growing Role of Gabapentin in Opioid-Related Overdoses Highlights Misuse Potential and...
- Article: Association between psychotropic prescriptions and the total amount of psychotropics ingested...
- Article: Chronic Pain and Opioid Prescribing: Three Ways for Navigating Complexity at...
- Prescription Drug Misuse -- see more articles
- Depressants (Nemours Foundation) Also in Spanish
- Misuse of Prescription Pain Relievers: The Buzz Takes Your Breath Away. Permanently. (Food and Drug Administration)
- Prescription Drug Abuse (Nemours Foundation) Also in Spanish
The information on this site should not be used as a substitute for professional medical care or advice. Contact a health care provider if you have questions about your health.