Addictive behaviors

Age cohort differences in the nonmedical use of prescription zolpidem: findings from a nationally representative sample.

PMID 24836162


Recent warnings from the FDA have highlighted the potential risks associated with zolpidem use. These risks may be especially acute in nonmedical users of zolpidem, but little work has examined the characteristics of such nonmedical users. This study aims to investigate the correlates of nonmedical use of zolpidem (NUPZ) across the lifespan and potential age cohort-based differences in NUPZ correlates. Data from the 2009-2011 versions of the National Survey on Drug Use and Health were used (n=174,667). Analyses used weighted design-based logistic regressions to examine a set of substance use and mental health correlates within five separate age cohorts and differences in correlate magnitude between these cohorts. Most examined substance use and mental health variables were significant correlates of NUPZ, though odds ratio (OR) magnitude tended to drop with increasing age. Age-based differences were most apparent for substance use correlates of both lifetime and past year NUPZ, with significantly higher ORs in adolescent nonmedical users. Mental health variables operated more consistently across age, with OR magnitudes that were generally in the same range, regardless of age cohort. Age-based differences in NUPZ correlates suggest motives may change for NUPZ through the lifespan, though this cannot be established with the cross-sectional data used in this work. Clinicians screening for NUPZ should emphasize such screening in high-risk individuals with substance use and/or mental health problems.