Neuroenhancement in Healthy Adults, Part I: Pharmaceutical Cognitive Enhancement: A Systematic Review

Fond G, Micoulaud-Franchi JA, Macgregor A, Richieri R, Miot S, Lopez R, Abbar M, Lancon C and Repantis D

The term neuroenhancement refers to improvement in the cognitive, emotional and motivational functions of healthy individuals through inter alia, the use of drugs. This popular topic attracts attention both from the general public and the scientific community. Our objective is to summarize in a synthetic review the data of randomized placebo-controlled trials that assessed cognitive effects of administration of neuroenhancers in non-sleep-deprived healthy adults compared to placebo. The major outcomes were attention, memory, learning, executive functions, and vigilance/wakefulness. Details on the pharmacological profile, effectiveness and safety for each drug are provided. We classify them according to their recognized major primary mode of action, namely catecholaminergics (methylphenidate, modafinil, amphetamines, tolcapone, pramipexole, guanfacine, antidepressants), cholinergics (nicotine, varenicline, acetylcholine esterase inhibitors, anticholinergics), glutamatergics (ampakines, memantine, Dcycloserine), histaminergics, and non-specified (caffeine, racetams/phosphodiesterase inhibitors and glucocorticoids).