Methylphenidate use among medical students at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev Academic Article uri icon


  • Introduction: Methylphenidate is a psychotropic agent commonly used for the treatment of attention deficit disorder with or without hyperactivity and narcolepsy in children and adults. The awareness to attention deficit disorder as well as the non-medical use of methylphenidate for cognitive enhancement has increased during the past years. Objectives: To evaluate the medical and non-medical use of methylphenidate among medical students in the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. Materials and Methods: Medical students were asked to report methylphenidate use, symptoms and diagnosis of attention deficit disorder using a structured questionnaire. Results: A total of 229 students participated in the study, out of which 105 (45.9%) were in the pre-clinical years of medical school. Twenty-two students (9.6%) were previously diagnosed with attention deficit disorder. Lifelong use of methylphenidate was reported by 39 (17%) students, while 31 students (13.5%) reported using methylphenidate during the preceding 12 month. In the beginning of medical school, only 7% of the students used methylphenidate, most of them began using it during pre-clinical academic years. Discussion: High rates of attention deficit disorder compared to the general population were reported by medical students. The rate of methylphenidate use is similar to recent report from a US medical school, and is considerably higher than in college students population. Conclusions: Many medical students are using methylphenidate without a medical indication. Further study is needed to evaluate the effect of methylphenidate on academic performance of healthy adults.

publication date

  • January 1, 2015