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Curr Clin Pharmacol. 2009 Jan;4(1):78-83.

Pharmacological profile of SSRIs and SNRIs in the treatment of eating disorders.

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  • 1Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Salerno, via Ponte Don Melillo (84084) Fisciano, Italy.


Bulimia Nervosa (BN) and Binge Eating Disorder (BED) are some of the most common eating disorders (ED) in industrialized societies, characterized by uncontrolled binge eating and self-induced purging or other compensatory behaviours aiming to prevent body weight gain. It has been suggested that reduced serotonergic and noradrenergig tone triggers some of the cognitive and mood disturbances associated with ED. In fact in the active phase of ED the concentration of serotonin and noradrenaline in cerebral fluid is reduced. For these reasons, the pharmacologic treatment of ED consists mainly of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) or selective noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) . At present, the physiologic basis of this disorder are not yet completely understood. In this review we evaluate several randomized controlled trials to compare the efficacy of several SSRIs and SNRIs in patients with a diagnosis of ED as defined by the fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders [DSM IV]) These findings indicate that both SSRIs and SNRIs are well tolerated and reduce effectively the bulimic crisis and purging episodes in patients with ED.

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