Consumption of medicines among adolescent students: a concern

OBJECTIVE: To study the prevalence of medicine consumption among adolescent students and to correlate it with school type (public or private), grades and school shift, age and gender of the students, education level of the parents and family habit of medicine consumption. METHODS: This is a cross-sectional study with a representative sample of the school population attending high school in Porto Alegre: 1,281 students from 58 groups, distributed in proportional strata of public and private schools. The questionnaire was answered individually and anonymously by the students inside of the classroom. The students provided information about their consumption of medicines during the seven previous days, specifying the kind of medicine used. Descriptive analysis of the variables, linear association and multiple logistic regression tests were used. RESULTS: The use of medicines occurred in 49.5% of the sample. The most consumed pharmacological groups were analgesics/anti-inflammatories and anti-gout agents (32.5% of the consumption), and hormones and similar (12.1%). Analgesics/antipyretics/anti-inflammatories and estrogens/ progestogens were, respectively, the most consumed medicines of the pharmacological groups above mentioned. Aspirin was the most consumed analgesic substance. Female students (RC = 2.24), 17 years old or over (RC = 1.41), with low maternal education (RC = 1.40), and whose relatives have the habit of consuming medicines (RC = 1.39), presented increased risk for medicine consumption. CONCLUSIONS: It was found that the consumption of medicines is high among school adolescents, especially among girls and older students. Family habit of consumption and low maternal education also favor the use of medicines.

Medicine use; students; adolescence

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