The self-reported prevalence of mehylphenidate use by Maste of Medicine (MMed) students registered at a South African university

Louw, Willem Andries Nienaber (2022-04)

Thesis (MMed) -- Stellenbosch University, 2022.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Background. Methylphenidate is mainly used for the treatment of attention-deficit hyperactive-disorder (ADHD). Its effect of increased attentiveness leads to the potential of off-label use by students for academic enhancement - previously demonstrated in undergraduate students. No publication exists on postgraduate student use of methylphenidate. Objectives. To provide a summary of the self-reported prevalence and correlates of methylphenidate use in Masters of Medicine (MMed) students registered at the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences of a South African university. Methods. A cross-sectional study was conducted. Data was collected via a self-administered anonymous online questionnaire distributed by email to 505 registered MMed students. Results. Of the 253 responses (response rate 50.1%) received 71 (28.1%) have used methylphenidate. Only 2.4% have been diagnosed with ADHD. The majority (73.2%) obtained it without a formal medical consultation. Self-prescription (26.8%) and prescription by a colleague without consultation (23.9%) contributed significantly. Academic performance enhancement was the primary motivation for use in 71.8% and 42.3% of users started using methylphenidate while registered as an MMed student. There was no statistically significant difference in terms of gender (p=0.151), age (p=0.288) or year of study (p=0.149). Conclusions. Off-label use of methylphenidate is prevalent in MMed students registered at this South African university. The prevalence is significantly higher than in undergraduate medical students. The non-conventional means of access is of great concern. Efforts should be made to discourage self-prescription, educate students on the dangers of methylphenidate use, promote better access regulation and enhance psychological support.

AFRIKAANS OPSOMMING: Agtergrond. Metielfenidaat word hoofsaaklik voorgeskryf vir die behandeling van aandag gebrek-hiperaktiwiteit-sindroom (AGHS). Die effek van verhoogde aandagspan lei tot potensiële misbruik deur studente vir akademiese doeleindes. Dit is voorheen in voorgraadse studente beskryf. Geen publikasie bestaan rakende die gebruik van metielfenidaat deur nagraadse studente nie. Doelstellings. Om ‘n opsomming van die selfgerapporteerde voorkoms van metielfenidaat gebruik in Magister van Medisyne (MMed) studente geregistreer aan die Fakulteit van Gesondheidswetenskappe van ‘n Suid-Afrikaanse universiteit te beskryf. Metodes. ‘n Beskrywende deursnitstudie is uitgevoer. Data is by wyse van ‘n anonieme webgebaseerde vraelys bekom. Dit is per e-pos aan 505 geregistreerde MMed studente versprei. Resultate. Van die 253 reaksies ontvang (reaksie syfer 50.1%) het 71 (28.1%) metielfenidaat gebruik. Slegs 2.4% is met AGHS gediagnoseer. Die meerderheid (73.2%) het dit sonder ‘n mediese konsultasie bekom. Voorskrifte aan self (26.8%) en voorskrif deur ‘n kollega sonder konsultasie (23.9%) het grotendeels bygedra. Akademiese bevordering was die primêre doelwit vir gebruik in 71.8% van gebruikers en 42.3% het gedurende MMed studies dit die eerste maal gebruik. Daar was geen statistiese verskil in terme van gebruik in geslag (p=0.151), ouderdom (p=0.288) of jaar van studie (p=0.149) nie. Afleidings. Nie-mediese gebruik van metielfenidaat gebruik is prevalent in MMed studente aan hierdie Suid-Afrikaanse universiteit. Die voorkoms is aansienlik hoër as in voorgraadse mediese studente. Die onkonvensionele metodes van toegang is kommerwekkend. Pogings moet aangewend word om voorskrifte aan self te beperk. Studente moet opgevoed word oor die gevaar van metielfenidaat misbruik, beter toegangbeheer moet toegepas word en sielkundige ondersteuning moet gebied word.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/125967
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