New publication - A questionnaire study investigating future pharmacists’ use of, and views on cognitive enhancers

February 19, 2018 - 10:14am


Lezley-Anne Hanna, Judith Rainey, Maurice Hall


Introduction: This work aimed to ascertain future pharmacists’ use of, and attitudes towards cognitive enhancers (CEs).

Methods: Following ethical approval, all first and final year pharmacy students at Queen's University Belfast (QUB) were invited to complete a pre-piloted, non-identifiable, paper-based questionnaire during a compulsory class. Descriptive statistics were undertaken; non-parametric tests were used for comparisons with significance set at p<0.05 a priori.

Results: The response rates were 89.3% (Level 1) and 89.0% (Level 4) with 48.0% of respondents reporting they were CE users (largely caffeine). Additionally, 42.4% thought using pharmaceutical CEs for improving academic grades breached their Code of Conduct. Level 4 students were more likely to associate over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription-only medicines (POM) CEs with side effects than Level 1 [OTC statement p=0.001 and POM statement p=0.016].

Discussion: CE use among future pharmacists seems quite high; Level 1 students appear more naïve about safety concerns. Educational workshops could further explore ethical issues.