Use of psychoactive drugs among patients visiting outpatient clinics in Karachi, Pakistan reply

Document Type



Community Health Sciences


Introduction: This study was conducted to determine the proportion of usage of psychoactive drugs, and to identify factors associated with its use among Patients visiting outPatient clinics of a tertiary care hospital in Karachi, Pakistan. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted involving 461 adult (age 18 years and above) Patients, who were surveyed by using interviewer-administered questionnaires. All interviews were conducted by a medical students. Out of the total number of participants, 242 (52.5 percent) were males and 219 (47.5 percent) were females. Results: In all, 118 (25.6 percent) of the respondents were using some sort of psychoactive drugs, however, only 20 (4.3 percent) study subjects were diagnosed with any psychiatric illness. Factors found to be significantly associated with usage of psychoactive drugs included belonging to the female gender (p-value equals 0.019), older (more than 50 years) age (p-value is less than 0.001), being married (p-value equals 0.004), having formal schooling of up to 12 years (p-value equals 0.001) and physical inactivity (p-value equals 0.004). In addition, those whose family members were using psychoactive drug(s) or who suffered from non-communicable diseases were more likely to use psychoactive drugs in comparison to others (p-value is less than 0.001). Conclusion: The use of psychoactive drugs is quite common in our Patients regardless of having any psychiatric disease. Efforts are required to control and prevent the abuse of these drugs. Education and awareness programmes for doctors and Patients may help to prevent the inappropriate use of psychoactive drugs. Regulatory intervention to control use of these drugs is also recommended.


Singapore Medical Journal