Methylphenidate use among students living in junior on-campus residences of the University of the Free State
Keywords: alcohol co-use, cognitive enhancement, methylphenidate, off-label prescribing, students
AbstractBackground: The use of methylphenidate as cognitive enhancer is a growing trend among students at tertiary institutions globally. This study aimed to determine the prevalence of methylphenidate use and co-use with alcohol among on-campus residence students of the University of the Free State (UFS). Methods: For this cross-sectional study, 10 junior residences were randomly selected and 1 761 anonymous questionnaires handed out for all students living in these residences during 2015. Data were collected on demographics, use of methylphenidate and co-use of methylphenidate with alcohol. Results: In total, 585 questionnaires (response rate 33.2%) were received and analysed. Sixty-six (11.3%) participants reported past-year use of methylphenidate. While only 18 (27.3%) of past-year users were diagnosed with ADHD, 44 (66.7%) obtained their supply through doctors’ prescriptions, 21 (31.8%) from friends without payment, and 4 (6.1%) bought it from illegal sources. Of the past-year users, 24.2% had used methylphenidate before consuming alcohol. Conclusion: Off-label prescribing, diversion of prescriptions and illegal trade in methylphenidate occur among students at the UFS. The frequent co-use of methylphenidate and alcohol may indicate a lack of information on the effects of the medication, rather than deliberate misuse. (Full text of the research articles are available online at www.medpharm.tandfonline.com/ojfp) S Afr Fam Pract 2017; DOI: 10.1080/20786190.2017.1292695
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