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A National Survey of Self-Prescription of Beta-Blockers and Their Relation to Undiscovered Anxiety Among Medical and Pharmacological Students in Saudi Arabia

Authors Alsini A, Alkhodaidi I, Alsini Y, Alsseeni S, Alkhodaidi S, Alsini E, Alsini A, Sindi H, Alswat K

Received 4 November 2020

Accepted for publication 11 February 2021

Published 17 March 2021 Volume 2021:17 Pages 797—807


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 4

Editor who approved publication: Dr Roger Pinder

Albaraa Alsini,1 Ishraq Alkhodaidi,2 Yasir Alsini,3 Sarh Alsseeni,4 Shrooq Alkhodaidi,5 Ehsan Alsini,6 Asim Alsini,7 Hamzah Sindi,8 Khaled Alswat9

1Resident, Department of Otolaryngology Head & Neck Surgery, Alhada Armed Forces Hospital, Taif, Saudi Arabia; 2Medical Student, Faculty of Medicine, Taif University, Taif, Saudi Arabia; 3PharmD, Alhada Armed Forces Hospital, Taif, Saudi Arabia; 4PharmD Student, Taif University, Taif, Saudi Arabia; 5Resident, Department of Dermatology, King Abdulaziz Hospital, Makkah, Saudi Arabia; 6PharmD, Medical Representative in Eli Lilly and Company, Taif, Saudi Arabia; 7Medical Intern, Faculty of Medicine, Taif University, Taif, Saudi Arabia; 8Medical Student, Faculty of Medicine, Umm AlQura University, Makkah, Saudi Arabia; 9Professor of Medicine, Department of Medicine, School of Medicine, Taif University, Taif, 21944, Saudi Arabia

Correspondence: Albaraa Alsini
Department of Otolaryngology Head & Neck Surgery, Alhada Armed Forces Hospital, Alhada District, Taif, Saudi Arabia
Tel +966530006201
Email [email protected]

Background: The development of beta-blocker (BB) medications is considered one of the most critical milestones of drug research. Several trials showed possible anti-anxiety effects of BBs. Our primary goal is to investigate the prevalence of anxiety disorder and the use of BBs as anxiolytic without medical prescription among medical and pharmacological students in Saudi Arabia.
Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted at multiple universities in Saudi Arabia. Students were given a questionnaire containing 44 questions that included demographic data, school location, BB usage behavior, GPA status before and after using BBs, and a GAD-7 anxiety screening questionnaire.
Results: A total of 3326 mainly female senior students participated in the study with a mean age of 21.9± 1.7 years. According to the GAD-7 score, half of the sampled students did not meet criteria indicative of anxiety disorder, and one-third were considered to have mild anxiety with a significant positive correlation between the BB usage and the GAD-7 score. A total of 6.4% of the sample reported usage of BBs. Therapeutics and Internal Medicine were the most common subjects for which BBs were used. When compared to pharmacy students, medical students were more likely to be male, smokers, diagnosed with psychiatric illness, having a higher mean GAD-7 score, report BB usage, and correctly identified common and serious BB side effects.
Conclusion: The inappropriate use of BB drugs without medical advice might have short- and long-term effects, and those may be more vulnerable to have psychological issues in the future. Our findings shed light on the need to identify students who are taking BBs as being at high risk of underlying anxiety disorders.

Keywords: beta-blocker, anxiety, student anxiety, self-prescription, undiagnosed anxiety

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