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Medicine (Baltimore). 2016 Apr;95(16):e3366. doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000003366.

(Mis)use of Prescribed Stimulants in the Medical Student Community: Motives and Behaviors: A Population-Based Cross-Sectional Study.

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From the Fondation FondaMental, Créteil, France, INSERM U955, Translational Psychiatry team, Créteil, France, Paris Est University, DHU Pe-PSY, Pôle de Psychiatrie des Hôpitaux Universitaires H Mondor, Créteil, France, AP-HP, Hôpital Henri-Mondor, DHU Pe-PSY, Université Paris Est-Créteil, France (GF, LB); AP-HM, Service de Neurophysiologie Clinique, Hôpital de la Timone, 264 rue Saint-Pierre, 13005 Marseille, Aix-Marseille Université, Faculté de Médecine, Marseille (MG); Pediatric Orthopedics Department, Hôpital Robert Debré, AP-HP, Paris Diderot University, Paris (CV); Bordeaux Sleep Clinique, Pellegrin University Hospital, 33076 Bordeaux, France; Bordeaux University, USR CNRS 3413 SANPSY, Research Unit, 33000 Bordeaux, France (J-AM-F); Inserm, UMR-S 1138, Centre de Recherche des Cordeliers, 75006 Paris, France; Université Pierre-et-Marie-Curie - Paris 6, UMR-S 1138, 75006 Paris, France; Université Paris Descartes, UMR-S 1138, 75006 Paris, France; University Center of Diabetes and Complications in Lariboisière (J-PR); and Fondation FondaMental, Créteil, France, DHU Pe-PSY, Pôle de Psychiatrie des Hôpitaux Universitaires H Mondor, Créteil, France, AP-HP, Hôpital Henri-Mondor, UF Neurochirurgie fonctionnelle, France, Brain & Spine Institute, CRICM, UPMC-Inserm UMR_S 975-CNRS UMR 7225, CHU Pitié-Salpêtrière, France (PD).


The aim of this study was to estimate the prevalence of psychostimulant use in the French medical community and their motives. A population-based cross-sectional study using a self-administered online survey was done. A total of 1718 French students and physicians (mean age, 26.84±7.19 years, 37.1% men) were included. Self-reported lifetime use, motives, socio-demographic and academic features for over the counter (OTC), medically prescribed (MPP), and illicit (IP) psychostimulant users were reported. Lifetime prevalence of psychostimulant use was 33% (29.7% for OTC, 6.7% for MPP, and 5.2% for IP). OTC consumption mainly aimed at increasing academic performance and wakefulness during competitive exams preparation. OTC consumption started early and was predictive of later MPP use. Corticoids were the most frequently consumed MPP (4.5%) before methylphenidate and modafinil. Motives for MPP consumption were increased academic performance, concentration, memory, and wakefulness. Psychostimulant use is common among French medical community. Our results suggest that restrictions on methylphenidate and modafinil prescriptions are effective at limiting their use. However, these restrictions may explain the observed rates of corticoids consumption, which raise a new public health problem, given that corticoids may have severe side effects.

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