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Medical management of eating disorders: an update.

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Eating disorders are associated with numerous medical complications. The aim of this study was to review recent progress in improving the medical management of patients with eating disorders.

RECENT FINDINGS: With close medical monitoring and electrolyte supplementation, accelerated refeeding protocols improve weight restoration without increasing the risk of refeeding syndrome. Olanzapine improves weight restoration better than placebo, without leading to adverse metabolic effects seen in individuals not in starvation. Alterations of the gut microbiome in anorexia nervosa have been demonstrated, but their clinical relevance remains unclear.

SUMMARY: Medical complications of eating disorders may facilitate the first contact with health professionals and treatment initiation. Medical complications of anorexia nervosa generally occur due to starvation, malnutrition and their associated physiological effects, whereas medical complications of bulimia nervosa are generally due to purging behaviors. Most medical complications in patients with binge eating disorder are secondary to obesity. Most medical complications of eating disorders can be effectively treated with nutritional management, weight normalization and the termination of purging behaviors. In summary, eating disorders are associated with many medical complications that have to be carefully assessed and managed as early as possible to improve long-term outcomes.

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