Some commonly used performance-enhancing drugs may be no more effective than a cup of coffee, according to a new study.

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Some commonly used performance-enhancing drugs may be no more effective than a cup of coffee, according to a new study.

Victoria University researchers Simon Outram and Bob Stewart examined existing research on the risks and benefits of stimulants being used by both sportsmen and people who wanted to boost their mental capabilities.

They found caffeine appeared to be as effective if not more effective than other drugs such as Ritalin, which is increasingly associated with students who "pop pills" to aid study.

Dr Outram said there was some overlap between substances being used for sporting performance enhancement and cognitive performance enhancement and the findings, published in journal Sport in Society, were useful when considering the regulation of these substances.

The study took in methylphenidate, marketed as attention deficit disorder treatment Ritalin, amphetamines, such as Adderall which is mixed-amphetamine stimulant, ephedrine, commonly found in Chinese remedies prescribed to alleviate asthma, and caffeine.

"There's no strong evidence to suggest that these three substances are going to help you over and above what you might get from caffeine," Dr Outram told AAP.

"This would be particularly the case if you're already training so that your body is at peak ability or your mind is at peak ability."

He emphasised the findings were based only on existing evidence, but said humans had a long association with stimulants.

"Teas and coffees and to a lesser extent amphetamines have been around a long time," he said.

"The science doesn't support a view which would suggest we've had a major breakthrough in physical or cognitive enhancement."