Nonmedical use of d-Amphetamines and Methylphenidate in Medical Students

Dionisio L. Acosta, Chelsea N. Fair, Cinthia M. Gonzalez, Maite Iglesias, Nataly Maldonado, Nathan Schenkman, Samuel M. Valle, Jorge L. Velez, Luis Mejia


Objective: The purpose of this study was to determine the prevalence of medical and nonmedical use of prescription attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD) stimulant medication among medical students. Materials and Methods: An IRB approved 19-question web survey was sent out to all students from a Puerto Rico (PR) medical school to assess use of ADHD medication. Out of the 250 stu-dents consulted there was a response of 152 surveys. Data was cross-referenced and compared with data from other studies. Results/Discussion: From the results gathered, the study’s sample had a higher prevalence of use than the 15% reported in previous studies, reaching 47.4%. Among students who had used these drugs, 89.4% indicated using it without a prescription. 86.8% of all respondents used some form of stimulant or substance in order to cope with the academic workload of medical school, includ-ing coffee, energy drinks, cigarettes, and alcohol. The majority of students (60.5%) considered study techniques workshops and exercise programs to succeed academically. Conclusion: This study suggests a higher prevalence of ADHD medication use amongst the PR medical student sample compared to findings reported of US medical students, as well as a high prevalence related to nonmedical use as a means for medical students to cope with their training. The nonmedical use of stimulants in the medical school setting remains of utmost public health and clinical concern. The results of this study could help develop proper workshops and non-pharmacological techniques to help medical students cope with their workload.


ADHD;medical student;nonmedical

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