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Review
, 18 (5), 228-45

Misuse of Medicines in the European Union: A Systematic Review of the Literature

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Review

Misuse of Medicines in the European Union: A Systematic Review of the Literature

Alicia Casati et al. Eur Addict Res.

Abstract

Background: Although awareness of the misuse of medicines is increasing, data on the extent of the problem in the European Union (EU) are lacking.

Methods: In order to assess the magnitude and severity of the problem, a systematic review of the literature on the misuse of analgesics, opioid substitution medicines and sedatives/hypnotics (with the exception of benzodiazepines) was conducted using the PubMed and Web of Science databases. Relevant literature was identified between 2001 and 2011.

Results: The main groups of misused medicines include opioid analgesics, methadone, buprenorphine and Z-drugs. Regional trends in medicine misuse indicate heterogeneity across the EU with respect to misused medicine types and research activities. Prevalence, high-risk populations and factors contributing to medicine misuse are discussed.

Conclusion: The implications of these findings for prevention, treatment, and policy in the EU are considered.

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