Tropical Journal of Pharmaceutical Research

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Prevalence of Self-Medication of Psychoactive Stimulants and Antidepressants among Undergraduate Pharmacy Students in Twelve Pakistani Cities

A Abbas, FR Ahmed, R Yousuf, N Khan, ZU Nisa, SI Ali, M Rizvi, A Sabah, S Tanwir


Purpose: To evaluate the prevalence of self-medication of psychoactive stimulants and antidepressants among pharmacy students of Pakistan.
Methods: A cross-sectional survey on self-medication of psychoactive stimulants and antidepressants among pharmacy students was conducted with a structured and validated questionnaire distributed to a total of 2981 final year undergraduate pharmacy students in 12 major Pakistani cities (Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Sargodha, Dera Ismail Khan, Abbottabad, Bahawalpur, Hyderabad, Faisalabad, Multan and Peshawar) of Pakistan. Out of this, 2516 (718 male and 1798 female) students completed and returned the questionnaire.
Results: Prevalence of self-medication of psychoactive stimulants was 1.31 (1.13 – 1.75 for 95% CI) and antidepressants was 8.34 (8.03 – 8.85 for 95% CI). A majority of the students (63 %) identified academic competition as a driving force for indulging in self-medication of psychoactive stimulants while nearly all the students (96 %)admitted using antidepressants to obtain relief from the pressure of studies (p < 0.05).
Conclusion: Pakistani pharmacy students, despite being aware of the hazards of psychoactive stimulants, indulge in self-medication. Prevalence of self-medication with antidepressants is very high among the students due to the pressure of studies. Primarily, academic competition is the major driving force for the use of psychoactive stimulants.

Keywords: Self-medication, Psychoactive stimulants, Antidepressants, Pharmacy students, Academicpressure
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