Pharmacy World and Science

, Volume 26, Issue 2, pp 79–82

Patterns and determinants of psychoactive drug use in Lisbon University students – a population-based study

  • José Cabrita
  • Humberto Ferreira
  • Paula Iglésias
  • Telmo Baptista
  • Evangelista Rocha
  • Adelina Lopes da Silva
  • José Pereira Miguel
Article

DOI: 10.1023/B:PHAR.0000018597.46246.34

Cite this article as:
Cabrita, J., Ferreira, H., Iglésias, P. et al. Pharm World Sci (2004) 26: 79. doi:10.1023/B:PHAR.0000018597.46246.34

Abstract

Objective: To study the patterns and determinants of psychoactive drug use by Lisbon University students.

Materials and methods: A cross-sectional survey was conducted, from January to April 2000, in a probabilistic sample of 1,147 students. Information about use of psychoactive drugs and co-variates was collected by a questionnaire administered by trained interviewers. Psychoactive drugs were considered to be all medicines classified in group N (nervous system) of the ATC system except the anesthetics (subgroup N01) and the analgesics (subgroup N02).

Results: 91 students (7.9%) had taken psychoactive drugs during the fortnight before the interview, 39 of whom (42.8%) mentioned continuous use. The prevalence of use was significantly higher in females (9.6%), older than 25 years (13.1%), married (16%), who considered themselves to have a weak health status (21.7%), as under intense stress (15.5%). After adjustment by multivariate analysis the variables sex, self-evaluation of health status and daily stress retained a higher significant association with psychoactive drug use. A total of 132 drugs were reported as being used in that period. Tranquilizers (ATC=N05B or N05C) were used by 82 students (7.2%), while 22 (1.9%) consumed psychoactive stimulants (N06B) and 19 (1.7%) antidepressants (N06A). In all of these therapeutical subgroups, females had higher consumption prevalence than males, but the difference was statistically significant only for tranquilizers (P |Ld 0.001). Anxiety, depression and insomnia were the most frequently stated health problems. More than 90% of drug consumers considered they had a compliant attitude and about 60% considered themselves well-informed about adverse effects of the drug used. The reported prevalence of self-medication for psychoactive drugs used was 12.8%.

Conclusions: The prevalence of psychoactive drug use among students of Lisbon University was higher than expected, considering age group and the usual health status of this population. The administration of a questionnaire was a very useful tool to characterise the pattern of use and the consumer's knowledge about the drugs consumed.

Drug useEpidemiological studyPortugalPsychoactive drugsUniversity students

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • José Cabrita
    • 1
  • Humberto Ferreira
    • 1
  • Paula Iglésias
    • 1
  • Telmo Baptista
    • 2
  • Evangelista Rocha
    • 3
  • Adelina Lopes da Silva
    • 3
  • José Pereira Miguel
    • 3
  1. 1.Faculty of PharmacyUniversity of Lisbon, Av. Prof. Gama PintoLisbonPortugal
  2. 2.Faculty of Psychology and Education SciencesUniversity of Lisbon, Av. Prof. Gama PintoLisbonPortugal
  3. 3.Faculty of MedicineUniversity of Lisbon, Av. Prof. Gama PintoLisbonPortugal