Features associated with diet pill use in individuals with eating disorders

Lauren Reba-Harrelson, Ann Von Holle, Laura M. Thornton, Kelly L. Klump, Wade H. Berrettini, Harry Brandt, Steven Crawford, Scott Crow, Manfred M. Fichter, David Goldman, Katherine A. Halmi, Craig Johnson, Allan S. Kaplan, Pamela Keel, Maria LaVia, James Mitchell, Katherine Plotnicov, Alessandro Rotondo, Michael Strober, Janet TreasureD. Blake Woodside, Walter H. Kaye, Cynthia M. Bulik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


We investigated the relation between diet pill use and eating disorder subtype, purging and other compensatory behaviors, body mass index (BMI), tobacco and caffeine use, alcohol abuse or dependence, personality characteristics, and Axis I and Axis II disorders in 1,345 participants from the multisite Price Foundation Genetics Studies. Diet pill use was significantly less common in women with restricting type of AN than in women with other eating disorder subtypes. In addition, diet pill use was associated with the use of multiple weight control behaviors, higher BMI, higher novelty seeking, and the presence of anxiety disorders, alcohol abuse or dependence, and borderline personality disorder. Findings suggest that certain clinical and personality variables distinguish individuals with eating disorders who use diet pills from those who do not. In the eating disorder population, vigilant screening for diet pill use should be routine clinical practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)73-81
Number of pages9
JournalEating Behaviors
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2008

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author thanks the Price Foundation for the support of the clinical collection of participants and support of data analysis. The author acknowledges the staff of the Price Foundation Collaborative Group for their efforts in participant screening and clinical assessments. The author is indebted to the participating families for their contribution of time and effort in support of this study. This study was also supported by grant MH-66117 from the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD.


  • Diet pills
  • Eating disorders
  • Novelty seeking
  • Weight control behaviors


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