AMA Journal of Ethics®

Illuminating the art of medicine

Journal of Ethics Header

AMA Journal of Ethics®

Illuminating the art of medicine

Virtual Mentor. August 2004, Volume 6, Number 08

Ethics Poll

Neurologic Illness and Ethical use of Neuropharmacology

The Ethics Poll is a snapshot of the opinions of interested readers.

1. A neurologist who has treated an ALS patient over the course of the disease may be justified in complying with that patient's request for physician-assisted suicide.
2. A person with a family history of Alzheimer's or Huntington's disease has an ethical duty to disclose that information to an intended spouse or life partner.
3. The person described in Question 2 has an ethical duty to his or her intended spouse or partner to have a genetic test for the disease in question before becoming symptomatic.
4. Those without a diagnosed cognitive disorder (eg, ADHD) who use a CNS stimulant like methylphenidate (Ritalin) to enhance their ability to focus in competitive academic situations take unfair advantage of their peers.
5. Physicians should not prescribe SSRIs (eg, Prozac) for mood enhancement unless they believe that the patient's emotional status interferes to some degree with his or her psychosocial adjustment.
Poll results reflect the opinions of visitors to the site who voluntarily answer the poll questions. Those visitors do not represent a random sample of Virtual Mentor readers. The viewpoints expressed on this site are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the AMA.