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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 9  |  Issue : 8  |  Page : 4391-4395

Inappropriate use of beta-blockers among medical and dental students at King Saud University, Riyadh

Department of Emergency, College of Medicine, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Abdulelah Adnan Abukhalaf
College of Medicine, King Saud University, P.O. Box 340483, Riyadh 12721-4496
Saudi Arabia
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jfmpc.jfmpc_696_20

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Aim: Self-medication and inappropriate beta-blocker use have been commonly reported among students. This study aimed to determine the prevalence of inappropriate self-prescription of beta-blockers among medical and dental students. Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional study using a validated self-administered questionnaire distributed via online Google document to all undergraduate medical and dental students, including interns, of King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Results: Out of 1,240 emails sent, 885 students (627 [70.8%] medical students and 258 [59.2%] dental students) responded to the survey (response rate, 71.4%). Beta-blockers were used by 198 students (22.4%) during their college years, of which 147 (16.6%) used it ≤5 times. The most common reason of using beta-blockers was to relieve stress and anxiety. The most common sources of information for use were their colleagues/fellow students. Self-prescribed beta-blockers were used by 123 students (13.9%). The usual dose consumed was 20 mg in 84 students (9.5%), while 15 (1.7%) experienced side effects. Although male students used beta-blockers more than females, females used beta-blockers at significantly higher doses (>20 mg). Medical students consumed more beta-blockers than dental students did (33.7% versus 0%, P = 0.001). Students in their senior years continued self-prescription and beta-blocker use longer than their juniors. Continued use was associated with their current academic level, who prescribed the drug, their usual dose, and awareness of complications. Conclusion: Two in ten students inappropriately used beta-blockers to relieve their anxiety and stress during examinations, and most of them were self-prescribed.

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