Self-reported health problems due to prescription drug use and non-medical use of prescription drugs–a population-based study

Karoliina Karjalainen, Solja Niemelä, Sanna Rönkä, Tomi Lintonen

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Abstract

Objective: We examined the association between the non-medical use of prescription drugs (NMUPD) and self-reported health problems due to the use of prescription drugs (hypnotics, sedatives, or strong painkillers), and whether it differed by social background among the general Finnish population. Methods: Population-based (aged 15–69) Drug Surveys conducted in Finland in 2014 and 2018 were used. NMUPD was measured by the past-year use and social background by the educational level and employment status. Self-reported health problems due to prescription drug use was used as an outcome. A multinomial logistic regression was used. Results: NMUPD was associated with self-reported health problems due to prescription drug use. The effect was modified by the social background and hazardous alcohol use: NMUPD was associated with health problems among those who had a high education, were employed or outside the workforce, and who used alcohol hazardously. Conclusions: Although the findings may partly be explained by the differences in health literacy, they indicate health problems with NMUPD despite the social background. Therefore, when prescribing psychoactive prescription drugs, it is important to monitor the non-medical use of these drugs and inform patients of their possible association with health problems, irrespective of the patient’s social background.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)616-622
JournalJournal of Substance Use
Volume27
Issue number6
Early online date23 Aug 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Keywords

  • Finland
  • health problems
  • Non-medical use of prescription drugs
  • population-based survey
  • self-report

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)

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