Objective: The aim of this study was to determine the rates of osteopenia and osteoporosis and other general health problems in a long-stay male psychiatric unit.
Method: All 15 patients underwent a semi-structured clinical interview and a full physical examination including calculation of Body Mass Index, central obesity (abdominal circumference) and blood pressure measurement. All patients had blood sampling examining FBC, U&E, LFTs, TFTs, PSA, prolactin, lipid profile and glucose. The rates of metabolic syndrome were calculated according to the International Diabetes Federation consensus worldwide definition. Bone mineral density was determined in the lumbar vertebrae and left hip by DEXA scanning.
Results: The prevalence of osteopenia or osteoporosis was 46%, and bone mineral density was inversely correlated with serum prolactin levels (r = -0.595, p = 0.041) and chlorpromazine equivalence (r = -0.645, p = 0.017). The prevalence of obesity was 53%, while central obesity was present in 87% of patients. Metabolic Syndrome was present in 27% of patients.
Conclusions: More attention should be given to diagnosing and treating osteopenia and osteoporosis in patients on long-term antipsychotic agents and preventative measures should form part of any treatment regime in these individuals. Frequent input from dietitians should also be available for long-stay psychiatric inpatients to reduce the prevalence of obesity.