Frequency of Methylphenidate (Ritalin) Consumption and its Associated Factors in Medical Students

Authors

1 Community Medicine specialist, Community Medicine Department, School of Medicine, Mashhad University of Medical sciences, Mashhad, Iran

2 Community Medicine specialist, Departments of Community Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Mashhad University of Medical Science, Mashhad, Iran

3 Department of Community Medicine, School of Medicine, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, IranTel: +989155084676; Email: dadgarmm@mums.ac.ir

Abstract

Background: Methylphenidate or Ritalin is an amphetamine derivative and a central nervous system (CNS) stimulant that is chemically similar to cocaine. A lot of reports have been made on Ritalin abuse. Objectives: This study aimed to determine the relative frequency of Ritalin consumption and its associated factors among medical students in different steps at Mashhad University of Medical Sciences. Methods: Using stratified random sampling, this descriptive analytical study was conducted on medical students in different steps at Mashhad University of Medical Sciences in 2015. The checklist included the subjects' background information, and also the questions associated with the frequency of Ritalin consumption and its underlying causes. Independent sample t-test was used to analyze the quantitative variables with normal distribution, and Chi-square test or Fishers exact test to analyze the qualitative variables. However, Kruskal-Wallis and Mann-Whitney were applied as non- parametric tests to analyze the quantitative variables with non-normal distributions. Results: This study was conducted on 340 medical students in different steps, and the response rate was reported as 91%. The frequency of Ritalin consumption among students was 17.3%. The excessive consumption of Ritalin by medical students was observed within the exams period (83%); smoking cigarette was reported in 75.5% of Ritalin user students and drug addiction in 20.8%. There was a significant difference in Ritalin consumption between the students living on- campus or off- campus and those living with their spouse or parents [OR (95% CI) = 0.5 (0.27-0.93)]; however, the higher consumption of Ritalin was reported in the first group. Moreover, a significant difference was revealed in Ritalin consumption between non-smoking students and smoking ones [OR (95% CI) = 40.34 (18.34-88.72)]. Conclusion: Regarding the prevalence of Ritalin consumption along with smoking cigarette and addiction to drugs among the students living on-campus, immediate preventive interventions are required for the people in the same age group who are living together in social environment as well as students at risk of more damages due to the abuse of such medications.

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