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Biol Psychiatry. 2001 Apr 1;49(7):644-52.

Double-blind placebo-controlled administration of fluoxetine in restricting- and restricting-purging-type anorexia nervosa.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15213, USA.



Anorexia nervosa is an often chronic disorder with high morbidity and mortality. Many people relapse after weight restoration. This study was designed to determine whether a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor would improve outcome and reduce relapse after weight restoration by contributing to maintenance of a healthy normal weight and a reduction of symptoms.


We administered a double-blind placebo-controlled trial of fluoxetine to 35 patients with restricting-type anorexia nervosa. Anorexics were randomly assigned to fluoxetine (n = 16) or a placebo (n = 19) after inpatient weight gain and then were observed as outpatients for 1 year.


Ten of 16 (63%) subjects remained on fluoxetine for a year, whereas only three of 19 (16%) remained on the placebo for a year (p =.006). Those subjects remaining on fluoxetine for a year had reduced relapse as determined by a significant increase in weight and reduction in symptoms.


This study offers preliminary evidence that fluoxetine may be useful in improving outcome and preventing relapse of patients with anorexia nervosa after weight restoration.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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