Online ISSN: 2451-4950

Author : Szabo, Christopher Paul

Eating disorders, risk and management: a personal journey and a South African and African perspective

Christopher Paul Szabo

GLOBAL PSYCHIATRY, 2019, Volume 2, Issue 2, Pages 121-134

Eating disorders are amongst the most, disabling and lethal of psychiatric conditions. These conditions affect predominantly adolescent and young adult females, but not exclusively so. Whilst stereotypically diagnosed in western, urban societies their emergence in a range of population groups beyond the aforementioned has challenged the stereotype – no more so than in South Africa where eating disorders had not been diagnosed in black, female South Africans until the 1990s. Creating awareness of the changing demographic profile and thus risk was critical in ensuring appropriate diagnosis and management. Whilst this was a key feature of my personal journey there were numerous other aspects of risk explored for the development of eating disorders, as well as management, which will be highlighted and discussed in the paper. This has been especially relevant within the South African context.


Pharmacotherapy prescribing patterns in the treatment of bipolar disorder in a South African outpatient population

Eleanor Mari Holzapfel; Christopher Paul Szabo

GLOBAL PSYCHIATRY, 2018, Volume 1, Issue 2, Pages 39-51
DOI: 10.2478/gp-2018-0006

To describe the range and frequency of psychotropics used in the management of bipolar disorder in a specific setting as well as describe the nature and frequency of monotherapy versus polypharmacy use. Specifically to determine congruence with recommended standard of care that might inform a review and refinement of prescribing within this context.
The study was a retrospective file review for patients with bipolar disorder (ICD 10 and or DSM IV TR diagnostic criteria) attending the outpatient clinic of a specialised psychiatric hospital (Tara Hospital) affiliated to the Department of Psychiatry (University of the Witwatersrand) in Johannesburg, South Africa. Data were presented both descriptively (continuous, discrete and categorical data) and with a range of appropriate statistical tests used for associations between categorical data (Chi Square; Fisher’s exact test; Cramer’s V and the phi coefficient).
The majority of patients (93.8%) were prescribed polypharmacy, with 3.2 as the mean number of psychotropic medications prescribed per patient (as determined from the last prescription written during the period of review, i.e. one year). There was a notable variety in the combinations used with no particular combination being prescribed in the majority of patients, noting, however, that 47% of the combinations used included a standard mood stabiliser prescribed together with an antipsychotic.
The current study provides data on the prescribing patterns for bipolar disorder in a specialist psychiatric clinic within an academic complex in South Africa. The findings reflect international studies and highlight polypharmacy and combination treatment as common in such settings. Where polypharmacy is prescribed, the variation in combinations prescribed indicate that whilst treatment guidelines may provide a best practice approach, studies determining the most useful combinations are few and ultimately clinical requirements for individual patients will dictate treatment.