What potential role is there for medication treatment in anorexia nervosa?

Scott J. Crow, James E. Mitchell, James D. Roerig, Kristine Steffen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


Objective: To review selected issues regarding the development of drug treatments for anorexia nervosa (AN). Method: The existing pharmacotherapy literature for AN is reviewed, and the theoretical and practical considerations are discussed. Results: A very wide variety of drugs have been examined in AN, generally with negative results. There are a number of potential reasons for this finding, including compliance, nutritional deficits, selection of the wrong targets or the wrong outcome measures, use of monotherapy, lack of animal models, or factors intrinsic to AN. Conclusion: Pharmacotherapy provides little benefit in the treatment of AN at present. Several strategies might lead to the identification of more effective agents, including new measurement strategies, identification of novel pharmacologic targets, and consideration of a clinical trials network.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Eating Disorders
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2009


  • Anorexia nervosa
  • Antidepressant
  • Antipsychotic
  • Medication


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