Journal Article
Multicenter Study
Randomized Controlled Trial
Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
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Olanzapine versus placebo for out-patients with anorexia nervosa.

BACKGROUND: Anorexia nervosa (AN) is a serious psychiatric illness associated with significant morbidity and mortality. There is little empirical support for specific treatments and new approaches are sorely needed. This two-site study aimed to determine whether olanzapine is superior to placebo in increasing body mass index (BMI) and improving psychological symptoms in out-patients with AN.

METHOD: A total of 23 individuals with AN were randomly assigned in double-blind fashion to receive olanzapine or placebo for 8 weeks together with medication management sessions that emphasized compliance. Weight, other physical assessments and measures of psychopathology were collected.

RESULTS: End-of-treatment BMI, with initial BMI as a covariate, was significantly greater in the group receiving olanzapine [F(1, 20)=6.64, p=0.018]. Psychological symptoms improved in both groups, but there were no statistically significant group differences. Of the 23 participants, 17 (74%) completed the 8-week trial. Participants tolerated the medication well with sedation being the only frequent side effect and no adverse metabolic effects were noted.

CONCLUSIONS: This small study suggests that olanzapine is generally well tolerated by, and may provide more benefit than placebo for out-patients with AN. Further study is indicated to determine whether olanzapine may affect psychological symptoms in addition to BMI.

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