Journal of Neurosciences in Rural Practice
Year : 2015  |  Volume : 6  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 320-325

Methylphenidate use among medical students at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

1 Department of Neurology, Soroka University Medical Center, and Faculty of Health Sciences Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva, Israel
2 Department of Clinical Research Center, Soroka University Medical Center, and Faculty of Health Sciences Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva, Israel
3 Department of Chief of Mental Health Services, Southern Region, Maccabi Health Services, Israel

Correspondence Address:
Yael Givon Cohen
Department of Neurology, Soroka Medical Center, Beer Sheva - 844 3813
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0976-3147.158749

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Introduction: Methylphenidate is a psychotropic agent commonly used for the treatment of attention deficit disorder with or without hyperactivity and narcolepsy in children and adults. The awareness to attention deficit disorder as well as the non-medical use of methylphenidate for cognitive enhancement has increased during the past years. Objectives: To evaluate the medical and non-medical use of methylphenidate among medical students in the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. Materials and Methods: Medical students were asked to report methylphenidate use, symptoms and diagnosis of attention deficit disorder using a structured questionnaire. Results: A total of 229 students participated in the study, out of which 105 (45.9%) were in the pre-clinical years of medical school. Twenty-two students (9.6%) were previously diagnosed with attention deficit disorder. Lifelong use of methylphenidate was reported by 39 (17%) students, while 31 students (13.5%) reported using methylphenidate during the preceding 12 month. In the beginning of medical school, only 7% of the students used methylphenidate, most of them began using it during pre-clinical academic years. Discussion: High rates of attention deficit disorder compared to the general population were reported by medical students. The rate of methylphenidate use is similar to recent report from a US medical school, and is considerably higher than in college students population. Conclusions: Many medical students are using methylphenidate without a medical indication. Further study is needed to evaluate the effect of methylphenidate on academic performance of healthy adults.

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