Knowledge, Attitude, Self-esteem and Use of Pharmaceutical Cognitive Enhancers (PCE) Among Medical Students: Cross Sectional Study
Pharmaceutical cognitive enhancers, otherwise known as PCEs or ‘smart pills’, are drugs that some people use in an attempt to improve memory, increase mental alertness and concentration as well as boost energy levels and wakefulness. Some common cognitive enhancers are modafinil (Provigil), amphetamine (Adderall), and atomoxetine (Strattera). With nootropics being available over-the-counter in Western countries while being a prescribed medication in Asian countries such as Malaysia and Singapore, there is a concern over the use and misuse by students and other academics alike. The use of prescription drugs for non-medical purposes has driven some of the controversy over cognitive enhancement. An analytical cross sectional study was conducted among medical students of Melaka-Manipal Medical College (MMMC) regarding knowledge, attitude, self-esteem and its association with use of cognitive enhancers among undergraduate students. Participants of this study comprised of students who have enrolled for MBBS in MMMC in both Muar and Melaka campus in Malaysia. The study was conducted from December 2018 – January 2019. The study population were clinical phase students from Semester 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 respectively. The sample size of this research project is 260. The sampling method chosen is purposive sampling. For data collection, the printed questionnaires were handed out to the research participants along with an attached consent form. The hypothesis tested by applying the logistic regression and correlation. People with low knowledge regarding PCEs are 0.1 times less likely to use PCEs. People with moderate knowledge are 0.7 times less likely to use PCEs. People with moderate attitude are 6.2 times more likely to use PCEs. People with poor attitude towards PCEs are 13.3 times more likely to use PCEs. People with low self-esteem are 0.1 times less-likely to use PCEs whereas people with normal self-esteem are 0.1 times less-likely to use PCEs. There is a low positive correlation between knowledge and attitude of the students. Through this study it has been determined that the knowledge, attitude and self-esteem are important factors that define the practice of PCEs. The general population with poor knowledge, poor attitude regarding Pharmaceutical Cognitive Enhancers (PCEs), and with low self-esteem would be perceived to be users of PCEs. Thus, healthcare authorities should create awareness to improve the knowledge in society regarding PCEs. More research regarding PCEs should be conducted in Malaysia or South-East Asian countries to obtain a more significant association for future reference.
Cognitive Enhancers, Medical Students, Nootropic Agents, Cognition, Pharmaceutical Preparations, Self Esteem
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