Background: Obesity is one of the main risk factors of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) worldwide, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. The use of Cyproheptadine increases body weight and the risk of becoming obese. The aim of this study is to determine the prevalence of Cyproheptadine misuse in the Kinshasa population and to describe its characteristics.
Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted in two town sectors of Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), over a 4 month period (May 2011 to August 2011). Data from 499 participants, aged between 13 and 55 years were collected and analyzed. Mean and standard deviation were used for quantitative variables and frequency and percentage for categorical variables. In order to determine the relationship between socio-demographic status and Cyproheptadine use the Chi-square test was conducted. Student's t-test was used to compare means age of Cyproheptadine users and non-users. Logistic regression was used to determine predictors of Cyproheptadine use. A p-value of <0.05 was considered statistically significant.
Results: Overall, 499 participants were enrolled (352 females, 147 males, mean age ± standard deviation 24.9 ± 9.7 years) in the study. The majority of the study participants (72.9 %) had used Cyproheptadine as an appetite stimulant. Females were 11 times more likely to use Cryproheptadine (OR = 11.9; 95 % CI: 7.1-20.1) than males. People aged between 36 and 55 were three times less likely to use Cryproheptadine (OR = 0.3; 95 % CI: 0.2-0.8) compared to teenagers. More than half of the participants (69.0 %) declared to take daily Cyproheptadine. Half of the study participants (50.0 %) used Cyproheptadine for more than a year and also declared to combine it with Dexamethasone (87.6 %).
Conclusion: This study shows that the Kinshasa population is significantly misusing Cyproheptadine and is highly exposed to its risk, including obesity.