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Psychol Med. 2015 Jan;45(2):415-27. doi: 10.1017/S0033291714001573. Epub 2014 Jul 14.

A randomized controlled trial of in-patient treatment for anorexia nervosa in medically unstable adolescents.

Author information

1
Eating Disorder Service at The Sydney Children's Hospitals Network,Westmead,Australia.
2
Psychiatry and Behavioral Science, School of Medicine,Stanford University,USA.
3
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience,The University of Chicago,USA.
4
Centre for Research into Adolescents' Health (CRASH), Adolescent Medicine Unit,Westmead Hospital,Australia.
5
School of Psychology,The University of Sydney,Australia.
6
Centre for Health Research, School of Medicine,The University of Western Sydney and School of Medicine, James Cook University,Australia.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Anorexia nervosa (AN) is a serious disorder incurring high costs due to hospitalization. International treatments vary, with prolonged hospitalizations in Europe and shorter hospitalizations in the USA. Uncontrolled studies suggest that longer initial hospitalizations that normalize weight produce better outcomes and fewer admissions than shorter hospitalizations with lower discharge weights. This study aimed to compare the effectiveness of hospitalization for weight restoration (WR) to medical stabilization (MS) in adolescent AN.

METHOD:

We performed a randomized controlled trial (RCT) with 82 adolescents, aged 12-18 years, with a DSM-IV diagnosis of AN and medical instability, admitted to two pediatric units in Australia. Participants were randomized to shorter hospitalization for MS or longer hospitalization for WR to 90% expected body weight (EBW) for gender, age and height, both followed by 20 sessions of out-patient, manualized family-based treatment (FBT).

RESULTS:

The primary outcome was the number of hospital days, following initial admission, at the 12-month follow-up. Secondary outcomes were the total number of hospital days used up to 12 months and full remission, defined as healthy weight (>95% EBW) and a global Eating Disorder Examination (EDE) score within 1 standard deviation (s.d.) of published means. There was no significant difference between groups in hospital days following initial admission. There were significantly more total hospital days used and post-protocol FBT sessions in the WR group. There were no moderators of primary outcome but participants with higher eating psychopathology and compulsive features reported better clinical outcomes in the MS group.

CONCLUSIONS:

Outcomes are similar with hospitalizations for MS or WR when combined with FBT. Cost savings would result from combining shorter hospitalization with FBT.

KEYWORDS:

Anorexia nervosa; family-based treatment; in-patient treatment; medical instability; treatment optimization

PMID:
25017941
PMCID:
PMC4301212
DOI:
10.1017/S0033291714001573
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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