Course and outcome of eating disorders in a primary care-based cohort




To study the course and outcome of patients with eating disorder detected in primary care.


General practitioners (GP's) provided information on the course and outcome of eating disorders in patients (n = 147) diagnosed with anorexia nervosa (AN) or bulimia nervosa (BN) identified during a Dutch nationwide primary care-based incidence study. The research team determined the outcome based on the data provided by the GP's. The mean duration of the follow-up was 4.8 years.


About 57% of the patients initially diagnosed with AN and 61% of those diagnosed with BN were fully recovered. AN binge/purge subtype (ANBP) demonstrated the most extended median survival time of all diagnostic subgroups (the point at which half of the group has reached full recovery). Diagnostic crossover was low. A younger age at detection predicted recovery at outcome for AN and BN. One patient (AN) died.


The results of this study on differences in outcome and low crossover support the diagnostic distinction between AN and BN in the DSM-IV. Early detection is of major importance for a favorable outcome. © 2009 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Int J Eat Disord, 2010