Consumption of Psychostimulants by Medical Students at a University in Southern Brazil

Results of a Panel Study

Keywords: central nervous system stimulants, prevalence, medical students, caffeine, methylphenidate

Abstract

Aims: To analyze the evolution of psychostimulants consumption by medical students of the Federal University of Rio Grande (FURG) during the period of four years.
Methods: This was a panel study conducted with a sample of students from first to fourth year of medical training, enrolled on the institution on the period between 2015 and 2018. The main outcome of this investigation was the use of psychostimulants. We collected information about the consumption of caffeine, methylphenidate, modafinil, piracetam, energetic drinks, amphetamines and methylenedioxymethamphetamine (ecstasy). The questionnaire was composed by two sections. First, information about socioeconomic and demographic variables, daily habits and quality of life were collected. In the second part, participants were asked about use of stimulant substances, frequency of its use, perceived effects, their motivation for consumption, as well as the beginning of consumption during the course.
Results: Prevalence of use of these substances have increased from 58% to 68% between 2015 and 2018. Proportion of students that had started to use psychostimulants during college increased from 15% to 30% in this period. That proportion increased according to the year of graduation, passing from 25% on the first year to 38% on the fourth year. This result may be attributed mostly to the use of methylphenidate, whose prevalence increased from 21% to 56% during the period of the study.
Conclusions: The consumption of psychostimulants among medical students was high, and the beginning
of its consumption during college has increased over the years. Its use has been perceived as effective by
most users, which may hamper the management of the misuse of these substances.

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Author Biographies

Rudinei Carlos Mezacasa Júnior, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande (FURG), Rio Grande, RS, Brasil.

Estudante de Medicina pela Universidade Federal do Rio Grande (FURG), em Rio Grande, RS, Brasil.

Kevin Francisco Durigon Meneghini, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande (FURG), Rio Grande, RS, Brasil.

Estudante de Medicina pela Universidade Federal do Rio Grande (FURG), em Rio Grande, RS, Brasil.

Lauro Miranda Demenech, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande (FURG), Rio Grande, RS, Brasil.

Mestre em Saúde Pública pela Universidade Federal do Rio Grande (FURG), em Rio Grande, RS, Brasil.

Henri Luiz Morgan, Universidade Federal de São Paulo (UNIFESP), São Paulo, SP, Brasil.

Residente em Área Cirúrgica Básica pela Universidade Federal de São Paulo (UNIFESP), São Paulo, SP, Brasil.

Arthur Franzen Petry , Universidade Federal do Rio Grande (FURG), Rio Grande, RS, Brasil.

Médico pela Universidade Federal do Rio Grande (FURG), em Rio Grande, RS, Brasil.

Samuel Carvalho Dumith, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande (FURG), Rio Grande, RS, Brasil.

Pós-doutorado em Epidemiologia pela Universidade Federal de Pelotas (UFPel), Pelotas, RS, Brasil; professor da Universidade Federal do Rio Grande (FURG), Rio Grande, RS, Brasil.

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Published
2021-08-31
How to Cite
Júnior, R. C. M. ., Meneghini, K. F. D., Demenech, L. M., Morgan, H. L., Petry , A. F., & Dumith, S. C. (2021). Consumption of Psychostimulants by Medical Students at a University in Southern Brazil: Results of a Panel Study. Scientia Medica, 31(1), e38886. https://doi.org/10.15448/1980-6108.2021.1.38886