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Keywords:

  • nutritional supplements;
  • fluoxetine;
  • anorexia nervosa

Abstract

Objective

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) medication does not appear to be effective in ill, malnourished anorexia nervosa (AN) patients. However, it may be effective in preventing relapse after weight restoration. The purpose of this study was to determine whether nutritional supplements could potentiate the effects of fluoxetine in underweight AN subjects.

Method

Twenty-six subjects with AN participated in a trial of fluoxetine. In a double-blind, placebo-controlled manner, subjects received either nutritional supplements or a nutritional placebo. The nutritional supplement included tryptophan (the precursor of serotonin), vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids believed to influence serotonin pathway function.

Results

There was no significant difference in weight gain between subjects treated with fluoxetine plus nutritional supplements versus fluoxetine plus a nutritional placebo. Moreover, there were no significant differences between groups on mean changes in anxiety or obsessive and compulsive symptoms.

Discussion

The results of this study suggest that supplement strategies are not a substitute for adequate nutrition and are ineffective in increasing the efficacy of fluoxetine in underweight AN subjects. © 2003 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Int J Eat Disord 35: 10–15, 2004.