Nonmedical use of alprazolam in the UK: Results from a nationally representative survey

Article date: August 2019

By: Joanna Hockenhull, Elise Amioka, Joshua C. Black, Colleen M. Haynes, Paul I. Dargan, Richard C. Dart, David M. Wood in Volume 85, Issue 8, pages 1841-1845

There is concern in the UK about nonmedical use (NMU) of alprazolam (Xanax). We investigated the epidemiology of alprazolam NMU compared with diazepam using data from the Survey of Non‐Medical Use of Prescription Drugs (NMURx) programme (collected 28 September–1 December 2017). The survey included 10 019 respondents and was weighted by age, sex and region to represent 52 927 659 UK adults. The estimated national prevalence of lifetime NMU of alprazolam was 0.32% (95% confidence interval: 0.19–0.46), and 1.30% (1.06–1.54) for diazepam. The prevalence of NMU in the last 90 days was significantly different when split by age category for alprazolam (P < .001), but not for diazepam (P = .262) with alprazolam NMU being more common among younger adults (age 16–24 years: 0.37%; age 25–34 years: 0.14%; 35 years or older: 0.01%). Further research is needed to fully understand the motivations of alprazolam NMU and to monitor whether the popularity of alprazolam will rise.

DOI: 10.1111/bcp.13959

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