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Einstein (São Paulo)

Print version ISSN 1679-4508On-line version ISSN 2317-6385

Abstract

CANDIDO, Raissa Carolina Fonseca; PERINI, Edson; PADUA, Cristiane Menezes de  and  JUNQUEIRA, Daniela Rezende. Prevalence of and factors associated with the use of methylphenidate for cognitive enhancement among university students. Einstein (São Paulo) [online]. 2020, vol.18, eAO4745.  Epub Oct 24, 2019. ISSN 1679-4508.  https://doi.org/10.31744/einstein_journal/2020ao4745.

Objective

To estimate the prevalence of and factors associated with the use of methylphenidate for cognitive enhancement among undergraduate students.

Methods

Simple random sample of students of the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (n=438), invited to answer an online questionnaire about the use of methylphenidate. Data collection occurred from September 2014 to January 2015. The sample was described by means of proportions, means and standard deviations. A multivariate analysis was performed using the Classification and Regression Tree algorithm to classify the cases of use of methylphenidate for cognitive enhancement in groups, based on the exposure variables.

Results

Out of 378 students included, 5.8% (n=22) reported using methylphenidate for cognitive enhancement; in that, 41% (9/22) in the 4 weeks prior to the survey. The housing situation was the variable most often associated with the use of methylphenidate for cognitive enhancement. Eleven students reported using methylphenidate for cognitive enhancement and other purposes 4 weeks prior to the survey, 27% of whom had no medical prescription to purchase it.

Conclusion

The use of methylphenidate for cognitive enhancement is frequent among Brazilian undergraduate students and should be considered a serious public health problem, especially due to risks of harm and adverse effects associated with its use.

Keywords : Methylphenidate; Cognition/drug effects; Central nervous system stimulants; Off-label use; Students; Prevalence.

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