The primary aim of the study was to determine the prescribing and cost of prescription appetite suppressants in a defined private sector patient population. A retrospective drug utilisation study was conducted on a medical insurance claims database in South Africa for 2010 and 2011. In 2010, 37 patients (86.49% females) were prescribed 44 appetite suppressants at a cost of R9 813.39. The average age of patients was 40.95 (SD=12.37) years. In 2011, 27 patients (77.78% females) received 42 prescriptions for appetite suppressants at a cost of R9 967.73. The average age of patients was 40.04 years (SD=10.41). Most products were for phentermine (77.91%), followed by d-norpseudoephedrine (17.44%) and diethylpropion (2.33%). Prescribing patterns in 2010 and 2011 were relatively similar. In 2011, patients were prescribed a total of 630 products (all therapeutic classes). The most often other prescribed medicines in 2011 were gastrointestinal tract products (14.60%), cardiovascular agents (11.11%) and antimicrobial products (9.52%). The most frequently prescribed subclasses were HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors (statins), analgesic combinations, non-selective COX-inhibitors and selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors. Appetite suppressants were not reimbursed by patients’ medical insurance benefits. A limited number of strictly regulated appetite suppressants were prescribed. Consumer studies that include over-the-counter appetite suppressants are recommended.
Appetite suppressants, Obesity, Drug utilization, Prescribing patterns