Non-medical use of prescription drugs among clients admitted to an acute psychiatric unit

Thong Wing Chan, Christopher P. Alderman, J. Simon Bell, Jenni Ilomäki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleOtherpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Background: Non-medical use of prescription drugs (NMPD) is when prescription drugs are used in a manner other than for the reason or duration prescribed. 

Aim: To explore NMPD among clients admitted to an acute psychiatric unit. 

Method: A prospective observational study was conducted of all clients aged ≥ 18 years admitted to an acute psychiatric unit from 2 July to 2 September 2012. NMPD definition was based on the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime criteria. Clinical and demographic data were extracted from medical records. Descriptive statistics were used to compare the characteristics of clients with and without NMPD. 

Results: Of the 76 eligible clients, 19 (25%) had evidence of NMPD. NMPD was associated with age < 65 years (p = 0.03), consumption of > 4 standard alcoholic drinks per day (p = 0.02), smoker (p = 0.02) and admission for a psychological reason with suicidal ideation (p = 0.03). There was no signifi cant association between NMPD and gender or illicit drug use. Clients with NMPD had higher symptom severity scores at discharge (p = 0.01) and shorter durations of hospital stay than clients without NMPD (p < 0.001). 

Conclusion: NMPD was prevalent among clients admitted to an acute psychiatric unit. Clients with NMPD had a shorter hospital stay than those without NMPD. Clinicians and policy makers need to implement strategies to minimise NMPD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)269-271
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Pharmacy Practice and Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes

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