Prevalent Intravenous Abuse of Methylphenidate Among Treatment-Seeking Patients With Substance Abuse Disorders: A Descriptive Population-Based Study


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Abstract

Objectives:Prescription rates of methylphenidate (MPH) are sharply rising in most Western countries. Although it has been reported that MPH has abuse potential, little is known about the prevalence of intravenous (IV) abuse of MPH. The aim of the study was to investigate the prevalence of IV MPH abuse among treatment-seeking IV substance abusers in Iceland.Methods:This is a descriptive population-based study using a semistructured interview assessing sociodemographics, substance abuse history, and the method of administration of 108 IV substance abusers. During 1 year, consecutively admitted adult inpatients with substance use disorder at any detoxification center in Iceland that reported any IV substance abuse in the past 30 days were invited to participate. Abuse was defined as nontherapeutic use of a substance to gain psychological or physiological effect.Results:Prevalence of any IV MPH abuse among participants was 88% in the last 30 days (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.82-0.94) and MPH was the most commonly abused substance (65%) and the preferred substance (63%). Around one third (30%) reported MPH as the first IV substance ever abused. However, among those reporting a shorter history than 10 years of IV abuse, 42% reported MPH as the first IV substance ever abused.Conclusions:This first nationwide study on IV abuse of MPH shows that it is common among treatment-seeking IV abusers in Iceland and suggests that MPH has high abuse potential. Therefore, both the use and possible abuse of MPH in those with high abuse potential should be monitored, especially in countries where MPH prescriptions rates are on the rise.

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