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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2015  |  Volume : 59  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 87-94

Non-medical use of prescription drugs in Bangalore, India


1 Associate Professor, Department of Nursing, National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS), Bangalore, Karnataka, India
2 Professor, Psychiatry, National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS), Bangalore, Karnataka, India
3 Professor, Biostatistics, National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS), Bangalore, Karnataka, India
4 Professor, Psychiatry, Center for Addiction Medicine, College of Public Health and Health Professions and College of Medicine, University of Florida, Florida, USA

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Prasanthi Nattala
Associate Professor, Department of Nursing, National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS), Bangalore, Karnataka
India
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Source of Support: The study is funded by Fogarty International Center, USA (Advanced In-Country Research Grant No. TW05811-08; PI: Linda B. Cottler)., Conflict of Interest: All the authors declare that they have no confl icts of interest.


DOI: 10.4103/0019-557X.157500

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Background: Non-medical prescription drug use is an ongoing problem in India; however, there is paucity of literature in the Indian population. Objective: The objective of the present study is to explore the non-medical use of prescription medicines in urban Bangalore, South India (N = 717). Materials and Methods: Participants were recruited using a mall-intercept approach, wherein they were intercepted in 5 randomly selected shopping malls, and interviewed on their use of prescription medicines. Results: The mean age of the participants was 28 years (S.D. 5). The non-medical use of different prescription medicine classes over the past 12 months was as follows: anti-inflammatories and analgesics (26%), opioids (17%), antibiotics (13%), and sedatives (12%). The majority reported "use without prescription," while "use in ways other than as prescribed" was also reported. In all cases, chemist shops were the main source of obtaining the drugs non-medically. In multivariate logistic regression analyses, non-medical use was found to be significantly associated with participants' baseline characteristics like gender, education, current employment status, and marital status. Sixty-five percent stated that although "doctor's prescription is not required for common complaints, we can decide ourselves," while 60% stated, "it's okay to deviate from a prescription as needed." One hundred percent said that "using prescription medicines is more socially acceptable, and safer, compared to alcohol or illicit drugs." Conclusion: These findings underscore the need for considering various contextual factors in tailoring preventive interventions for reducing non-medical use of prescription drugs.


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