Prior treatment received by patients with bulimia nervosa

Scott Crow, Melissa Pederson Mussell, Carol Peterson, Amy Knopke, James Mitchell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


Objective: This study examined the frequency with which subjects with bulimia nervosa (BN) presenting for treatment or follow-up studies had previously received either adequate pharmacologic treatment or cognitive- behavioral therapy (CBT). Method: Semi-structured telephone screening of individuals who called in response to advertisements about research studies was used to establish diagnoses and to clarify prior pharmacologic and psychotherapeutic treatments for BN. Results: Of 581 women responding, 353 (60.8%) had probable BN. Overall, 61.4% of these subjects had received psychotherapy (96.7%) but rarely CBT (6.9%). Over one haft (63.7%) had received pharmacologic treatment, most commonly with fluoxetine (72.5%). Of those having received any medication treatment, 46,2% were judged to have received at least one adequate trial. Overall, 35.0% of those previously treated had received at least one prior course of adequate pharmacotherapy or CBT for BN. Conclusion: Although efficacious treatments for BN have been established, they have not been received by most individuals presenting for further treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)39-44
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Eating Disorders
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1999


  • Bulimia nervosa
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Pharmacologic treatment


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