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Int J Eat Disord. 2004 Jan;35(1):10-5.

Use of nutritional supplements to increase the efficacy of fluoxetine in the treatment of anorexia nervosa.

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Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh Medical School, Anorexia and Bulimia Nervosa Research Module, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15213, USA.



Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) medication does not appear to be effective in ill, malnourished anorexia nervosa (AN) patients. However, it may be effective in preventing relapse after weight restoration. The purpose of this study was to determine whether nutritional supplements could potentiate the effects of fluoxetine in underweight AN subjects.


Twenty-six subjects with AN participated in a trial of fluoxetine. In a double-blind, placebo-controlled manner, subjects received either nutritional supplements or a nutritional placebo. The nutritional supplement included tryptophan (the precursor of serotonin), vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids believed to influence serotonin pathway function.


There was no significant difference in weight gain between subjects treated with fluoxetine plus nutritional supplements versus fluoxetine plus a nutritional placebo. Moreover, there were no significant differences between groups on mean changes in anxiety or obsessive and compulsive symptoms.


The results of this study suggest that supplement strategies are not a substitute for adequate nutrition and are ineffective in increasing the efficacy of fluoxetine in underweight AN subjects.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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