Opioid Use Disorders Attributed to Tramadol Among Egyptian University Students

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Abstract

Background:

Tramadol use is an overwhelming problem in Egypt with tremendous medical and social consequences especially among youth. Use liability among Egyptian university students is underevaluated. This study aimed to estimate the prevalence and associated correlates of tramadol use among students from Zagazig University, Egypt.

Methods:

A cross-sectional study included a total of 1135 undergraduate students, from 10 colleges in Zagazig University. Participants were randomly selected and assessed for tramadol use using The Drug Use Disorders Identification Test (DUDIT) and The Drug Use Disorders Identification Test—Extended (DUDIT-E).

Results:

The prevalence of tramadol use was 12.3% among university students, with higher prevalence in male (20.2%) than female students (2.4%). The average age at onset of tramadol use was 17.6 ± 2.1. Only 15% of the students with substance use were using tramadol alone whereas the rest (85%) were using at least 1 drug plus tramadol. One-fifth of these students started with tramadol as their first drug. Smoking, cannabis, and alcohol use predict tramadol use. About 60% of students who use tramadol had drug-related problems and 30% had dependence. Treatment readiness for tramadol use is negatively correlated with smoking and its duration.

Conclusions:

Tramadol use was common among university students, with higher prevalence among males. There is a considerable relationship between tramadol use, smoking, and use of other substances. Further population-based longitudinal studies need to investigate the causal relationship between tramadol use, smoking, and use of other substances.

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