Misuse of Alprazolam Common in the United Kingdom

Survey shows nonmedical use of the antianxiety drug is most common among younger adults

FRIDAY, June 7, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Nonmedical use of alprazolam is a significant issue in the United Kingdom, particularly among younger adults, according to a study published online June 4 in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology.

Joanna Hockenhull, from Guy's and St. Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust in London, and colleagues assessed the nonmedical use of alprazolam using data from 10,019 participants in the Survey of Non-Medical Use of Prescription Drugs Program (Sept. 28 to Dec. 1, 2017).

The researchers found that the estimated national prevalence of lifetime nonmedical use was 0.32 percent for alprazolam and 1.30 percent for diazepam. Nonmedical use in the previous 90 days was significantly different when assessed by age category for alprazolam, but not for diazepam. Nonmedical use of alprazolam was more common among younger adults (aged 16 to 24 years: 0.37 percent; 25 to 34 years: 0.14 percent; ≥35 years: 0.01 percent).

"Further research is urgently needed to further explore the motivations for and appeal of alprazolam for nonmedical use among young adults," write the authors. "This will enable appropriate public health interventions to prevent short-term toxicity and long-term dependence among young adults who are regularly using alprazolam."

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