Bushra Shafiq Khan, Muhammad Saad Bin Nasir, Ali Hassan Nasir, Shandana Qazi, Rameen Habib, Syed Ahmed


Introduction: Methylphenidate, the medication prescribed for Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD), is being used recreationally and abused by college students to enhance academic performance. The present study was conducted to measure and compare the magnitude of methylphenidate use in selected private and public sector medical colleges as well as to assess the risk factors associated with the intake of methylphenidate.

Materials & Methods: The study was a comparative cross-sectional study conducted in two medical colleges of Peshawar, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (Khyber Medical College, public sector) and (Rehman Medical College, private sector). The sample size was 245 students, 123 from Rehman Medical College (RMC) and 122 from Khyber Medical College (KMC), excluding the first year MBBS students. Self-administered questionnaire was completed by the students selected through multistage systematic random sampling. Descriptive statistics and Binary Logistic Regression were done through SPSS 15.

Results: Among the 245 respondents, 53(21.6%) students claimed to have taken the drug at least once during their MBBS course (RMC 24/123, 19.51%; KMC 29/122 responders, 29 (23.78%). Use of the drug was more common in males (RMC 83.33% males; KMC 55.17% males) as compared to females. Students who had friends using the drug or were compelled by friends, as well as students who had to appear in a supplementary examination had a higher risk of using the drug (both having p<0.001).

Conclusion: Methylphenidate was used by a relatively high percentage (about 20%) of private and public sector medical students, with males at a higher proportion; peer pressure and failing a professional exam had a direct relationship with use of the drug.

Keywords: Methylphenidate; Substance Abuse; Street Drugs; Substance-Related Disorder.

Full Text:



Bruggisser M, Bodmer M, Liechti ME. Methylphenidate misuse. Praxis (Bern 1994). 2012 Feb;101(5):299-305.

Klein-Schwartz W. Abuse and toxicity of methylphenidate. Curr Opin Pediatr. 2002;14:219-23.

DuPont RL, Coleman JJ, Bucher RH, Wilford BB. Characteristics and motives of college students who engage in nonmedical use of methylphenidate. Am J Addict. 2008 May-Jun;17(3):167-71.

Hall KM, Irwin MM, Bowman KA, Frankenberger W, Jewett DC. Illicit use of prescribed stimulant medication among college students. J Am Coll Health. 2005 Jan-Feb;53(4):167-74.

Habibzadeh A, Alizadeh M, Malek A, Maghbooli L, Shoja MM, Ghabili K. Illicit methylphenidate use among Iranian medical students: prevalence and knowledge. Drug Des Devel Ther. 2011Feb;5:71-6.

White BP, Becker-Blease KA, Grace-Bishop K. Stimulant medication use, misuse, and abuse in an undergraduate and graduate student sample. J Am Coll Health. 2006 Mar-Apr;54(5):261-8.

Babcock Q, Byrne T. Student perceptions of methylphenidate abuse at a public liberal arts college. J Am Coll Health. 2000 Nov;49(3):143-5.

Massello W, Carpenter DA. A fatality due to the intranasal abuse of methylphenidate (Ritalin). J Forensic Sci. 1999;44(1):220-1.

Cohen YG, Segev RW, Shlafman N, Novack V, Ifergane G. Methylphenidate use among medical students at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. J Neurosci Rural Pract. 2015 Jul-Sep;6(3):320-5.

Teter CJ, McCabe SE, Boyd CJ, Guthrie SK. Illicit methylphenidate use in an undergraduate student sample: prevalence and risk factors. Pharmacotherapy. 2003 May;23(5):609-17.

McCabe SE, Teter CJ. Drug use related problems among nonmedical users of prescription stimulants: A web-based survey of college students from a Midwestern university. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2007 Nov 2;91(1):69-76.

Hildt E, Lieb K, Bagusat C, Franke AG. Reflections on addiction in students using stimulants for neuroenhancement: a preliminary interview study. Biomed Res Int. 2015;2015;621075.

Teter CJ, McCabe SE, LaGrange K, Cranford JA, Boyd CJ. Illicit use of specific prescription stimulants among college students: prevalence, motives, and routes of administration. Pharmacotherapy. 2006;26(10):1501-10.


  • There are currently no refbacks.