Sunday, October 2, 2011

ADHD drug may wake you up from surgery

In the future, you might be given the ADHD drug ritalin in order to wake you up after being anaesthetized for surgery. Experiments in rats show that ritalin counters the effects of general anaesthetic drugs, and consequently wakes them up. Currently, the drug is used in humans to counter ADHD symptoms, but the study in rats shows it may in the future be administered after surgery, to wake you up faster. After surgery, patients are taken to a seperate room to let the anaesthetics wear off, but with ritalin, the whole surgical process could be over with much faster.

Rats given ritalin needed 90 seconds to wake up, while they normally require about 280 seconds. It shows the drug makes the anaesthetic wear off significantly faster. It is the first time that a drug shows anti-anaesthetic effects: doctors normally let the induced sleep wear off normally, without any medical aid. Of course, the results still have to be replicated in humans.

In the brain, ritalin activates certain neurons, in order to counter hyperactive behaviour in ADHD patients. The drug activates specific neurons, that use the chemical dopamine to transmit their signals. It is known that these brain cells are involved with arousal state, which gave the scientists the idea to test the drug in anaesthetized animals. It is likely that the drugs functions the same in our brains, as ritalin was developed for humans in the first place.

Activating neurons that transmit their signals with a certain chemical (called neurotransmitters) is not a new idea. Years ago, doctors administered a drug that activates neurons that use the neurotransmitter GABA, which consequently let people wake up from coma. Paradoxically, the given drug is used in sleeping pills for concious people.

Having a drug that wakes people up after surgery could speed up the whole process, so that the hospital saves time and money. Additionally, the patient could get out of the hospital faster. Even if does not pan out, it is still intriguing how drugs used for ADHD and to induce sleep can have an effect in waking people up.

1 comment:

  1. Information make it well and exciting. Surgery want perfect care otherwise it provide wrong result of its.