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Use of Cognitive Enhancement Medication Among Northern Italian University Students

Castaldi, Silvana MD; Gelatti, Umberto MD; Orizio, Grazia MD, PhD; Hartung, Uwe PhD; Moreno-Londono, Ana Maria PhD; Nobile, Marta MD; Schulz, Peter J. PhD

Journal of Addiction Medicine: June 2012 - Volume 6 - Issue 2 - p 112–117
doi: 10.1097/ADM.0b013e3182479584
Original Research

This study assesses the use of cognitive enhancement medication among university students in Northern Italy. It was conducted as a cross-sectional analysis on the basis of a paper-and-pencil survey of 77 undergraduate students attending courses in the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Milan, Milano, Italy. Although the share of students who have taken cognitive enhancement medication themselves in the past is still small (16%), the use of these drugs is rather common and freely communicated in some social circles. Enhancing the ability to study outside of the class was students' primary motive for use. Students who think that there is no or an acceptable risk involved in cognitive enhancement medication are more likely to take drugs and dietary supplements than those who perceive the risk as high.

From the Section of Public Health Department of Public Health, Microbiology and Virology (SC, MN), University of Milan, Fondazione IRCCS Ca' Granda Ospedale Maggiore di Milano, Milano, Italy; Section of Hygiene, Epidemiology and Public Health (UG, GO), Department of Experimental and Applied Medicine, University of Brescia, Brescia, Italy; and Institute of Communication and Health (UH, AMM-L, PJS), University of Lugano, Lugano, Switzerland.

Send correspondence and reprint request to S. Castaldi, Section of Public Health Department of Public Health, Microbiology and Virology, University of Milan via Pascal, 36 20133, Milano, Italy. E-mail:

The authors have no conflicts of interest.

S. Castaldi, U. Gelatti, and P. J. Schulz participated in the design of the study and in its coordination; G. Orizio, U. Hartung, A.M. Moreno-Londono, and M. Nobile performed the analysis and drafted the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Received June 27, 2011

Accepted June 20, 2011

© 2012 American Society of Addiction Medicine