Scary New Adderall-Type Drug for Children Looks & Tastes Just Like Candy

Illustration for article titled Scary New Adderall-Type Drug for Children Looks & Tastes Just Like Candy

In somewhat disquieting news, an extended-release ADHD medication called Adzenys has hit the market, making amphetamines even more tempting than they already are by delivering the drug in chewable, candy-flavored form. This should go well!


According to STAT, Adzenys is similar to Adderall and is marketed towards children ages 6 and up with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, especially those who are averse to swallowing pills. “Marketed” being the operative word:

The Dallas company behind the drug, Neos Therapeutics, began ramping up commercial efforts this week in order to get “ahead of back-to-school season,” CEO Vipin Garg said. “We’re launching now at full speed.”

STAT points out that while Adzenys is, in its effects, no different from similar drugs on the market—including the fact that it is an amphetamine available for use on extremely young children, many of whom do not need it—the way this drug is presented is “a recipe for people to request it and then sell it,” according to adolescent and child psychologist Dr. Mukund Gnanadesikan.

It is certainly easy to imagine a pill like this becoming a popular recreational option for teenagers and adults, who are, from the library to the gym, already up to their ears in uppers; Gnanadesikan told STAT: “I’m not a big fan of controlled substances that come in forms that can be easily abused—and certainly a chewable drug falls into that category.”

The fact that a drug with serious potential side effects and largely unstudied long-term effects (from my own personal experience: bad!) is marketed so heavily as a safe choice for growing kids (and, remarkably, as a highly questionable treatment for binge eating disorders) strikes me as somewhat morally indefensible—especially when that drug is literally presented as candy.


Image via Getty.

Ellie is a freelance writer and former senior writer at Jezebel. She is pursuing a master's degree in science journalism at Columbia University in the fall.


I'm Fart and I'm Smunny

Yeah, agreed that controlled substances shouldn’t taste like candy. That is asking for trouble.

But at the same time, I want to add the disclaimer that taking ADHD medication isn’t automatically a bad thing. When I first started high school, I had no idea why I was doing so poorly in my classes and I didn’t understand why I kept forgetting everything or why I randomly zoned out in the middle of a math lesson without even realizing it. And when I finally went on Adderall, things slowly started to improve, though I still had difficulties because our school system is standardized for kids who don’t have ADHD. And now in college, I’m finally getting all A’s because it is the right combination of a structure that works better and the right dosage of medication.

Having ADHD is hard in this culture when so many people treat it as a joke or don’t understand how difficult and frustrating it can be, and taking medication for it shouldn’t have such a stigma attached to it.

And just to add in a little brag here, if any of you are interested, my mom is a reading specialist and one of her former students published a book about what it is like to be an 11 year old with ADHD, and she actually dedicated it to my mom (which made my mom cry a bit).