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Harv Rev Psychiatry. 1993 Jul-Aug;1(2):82-93.

Pharmacologic approaches in the treatment of eating disorders.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Beth Israel Hospital, Boston, MA 02215, USA.


Important advances in the treatment of eating disorders, particularly bulimia nervosa, have been made during the past decade. Controlled trials for bulimia nervosa have demonstrated significant benefit from short-term pharmacotherapy with antidepressant medications and from short-term individual and group psychotherapies. Despite these advances, treatment of a patient often involves complex clinical decisions around such issues as choice of initial treatment modality, incomplete resolution of symptoms, and the role of long-term maintenance treatment. To address these questions, this review focuses primarily on summarizing results of published controlled trials of pharmacotherapy in patients with bulimia nervosa. In addition, it outlines the more limited literature on controlled pharmacotherapy trials for anorexia nervosa and for the provisionally identified syndrome of binge eating disorder.

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