Longitudinal study on the consumption of analgesics, tranquilizers and hypnotics by healthy swiss men over a 13-year period (1972–1985)

  • H. R. Wacker
  • R. Battegay
  • C. Schlösser


This study describes the course of medical drug consumption (analgesics, tranquilizers, and hypnotics) in 843 identical, healthy men between the ages of 20 and 33 years. In 1972–1973, 4082 randomly selected 20-year-old Swiss military recruits were interviewed with a standardized questionnaire about parental drug consumption and their own consumption of tobacco, alcohol, analgesics, tranquilizers, hypnotics, and illegal drugs. In 1979, 1658 and, in 1985, 1554 men from the original sample were asked identical and similar questions via questionnaires sent by mail. The results presented concern the 843 men who took part in all three phases. The medical drugs these men consumed most often were analgesics. However, there was a significant decrease in the number of men who took these drugs either seldom or repeatedly during the observation period (28.6% vs 21.0%;P < 0.001). There was also a significant decrease in the proportion of men who used tranquilizers (8.7% vs 4.9%;P < 0.01); however, the proportions of men taking hypnotics were the same in 1972–1973 and in 1985 (5.4% vs 5.2%). In the study population, repeated consumption of analgesics and/or hypnotics and/or tranquilizers at the age of 20 significantly increased the probability that the subjects would habitually consume analgesics at the age of 33. Repeated parental consumption of hypnotics increased the probability that the sons would significantly increase their consumption of hypnotics and/or tranquilizers between the ages of 20 and 33. The results are discussed against the background of other findings concerning the epidemiology of drug consumption.

Key words

Medical drug-consumption habits Longitudinal study Early adulthood Former military recruits Questionnaire by mail Healthy men 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. R. Wacker
    • 1
  • R. Battegay
    • 1
  • C. Schlösser
    • 1
  1. 1.Psychiatric University Outpatient ClinicBasleSwitzerland

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