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Adv Ther. 2005 May-Jun;22(3):278-83.

Treatment of bulimia nervosa with fluvoxamine: a randomized controlled trial.

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  • 1Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Mental Health Unit, University of Salerno, Naples, Italy.


Bulimia nervosa (BN) is one of the most common eating disorders in industrialized societies. It has been suggested that reduced serotonin activity triggers some of the cognitive and mood disturbances associated with BN. For this reason, the pharmacologic treatment of BN consists mainly of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which have been proven effective. At present, the physiologic bases of this disorder are not yet completely understood. We conducted a randomized controlled trial to verify the efficacy of the SSRI fluvoxamine in patients with a diagnosis of BN. Twelve female outpatients aged 21 to 34 years with a diagnosis of BN-binge purging (as defined by the fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders [DSM IV]) were randomly assigned to 2 treatment groups: the fluvoxamine 200 mg/day group and the placebo group. The patients underwent weekly clinical assessments for 12 weeks. At the end of the observation period, there was a statistically significant reduction in the number of binge-eating crises and purging episodes in the fluvoxamine group compared with placebo. In no case was treatment interrupted because of emergent side effects. These findings support the hypothesis that fluvoxamine is well tolerated and effective in reducing binge-eating crises and purging episodes in patients with BN.

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