Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública
On-line version ISSN 1680-5348
Print version ISSN 1020-4989
ABREU, Mauro Henrique Nogueira Guimarães de; ACURCIO, Francisco de Assis and RESENDE, Vera Lúcia Silva. The use of psychotropics by dental patients in Minas Gerais, Brazil. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 2000, vol.7, n.1, pp.17-23. ISSN 1680-5348. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1020-49892000000100003.
In Brazil, psychotropics and other drugs are often indiscriminately overused. Nevertheless, there are few studies regarding the use of psychotropics, especially among dental patients. The purpose of this study was to assess the prevalence of psychotropic consumption among patients of the general primary care clinic of the Dentistry School at the Minas Gerais Federal University, in Brazil. To collect data, students working in the clinic interviewed all patients over 12 years of age seen at the clinic during June 1997 and asked them about their use of psychotropics during the preceding 2-week and 12-month periods. The results showed that 4% of the patients had used psychotropic drugs in the 2 weeks before the study and that 10% of them had used psychotropics in the preceding 12 months. The drugs used most frequently in the 12-month period were anxiolytics (around 40% of total use). The median age of the patients was 23 years old. Persons under the median had used psychotropics less in comparison with older persons (P < 0.01). A significant association (P < 0.05) was found between using drugs and being female, and also between the use of drugs and being a housekeeper or a housewife (P < 0.03). Patients with a regular relationship (married or living together) used more psychotropics than patients who were single, widowed, or divorced (P < 0.03). There was no association between the use of drugs and the level of education. Even though information on the use of psychotropics is important for dental diagnosis and planning, only 40% of the students said they noted this information in their patients' charts. That fact suggests that dental student education may be lacking in this regard and that dentistry training should take into consideration the issue of patients' use of drugs.