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Treatment of Anxiety and Anorexia Nervosa in Adolescents (TAANA)

The safety and scientific validity of this study is the responsibility of the study sponsor and investigators. Listing a study does not mean it has been evaluated by the U.S. Federal Government. Read our disclaimer for details. Identifier: NCT01933243
Recruitment Status : Completed
First Posted : September 2, 2013
Results First Posted : April 23, 2018
Last Update Posted : April 23, 2018
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Andrea Bonny, Nationwide Children's Hospital

Brief Summary:
Adolescents with anorexia nervosa frequently have associated anxiety, and standard medications used for anxiety are unhelpful when patients are malnourished. This is a 12 week trial examining the safety, tolerability, and effectiveness of fish oil nutritional supplements for anxiety in adolescents with anorexia nervosa.

Condition or disease Intervention/treatment Phase
Anxiety Anorexia Nervosa Drug: Fish oil Drug: Placebo pill Phase 2

Detailed Description:

Anorexia nervosa (AN) is an eating disorder characterized by a morbid fear of weight gain and a perception of being overweight despite objective evidence of weight loss and malnutrition. It has been estimated that almost 0.9% of women will suffer from AN at some point in their lives, and most cases of AN arise during adolescence. Even with appropriate treatment, only about half of patients with AN will have a full recovery, 30% partial recovery, and 20% will progress to having a chronic illness. Earlier, more aggressive treatment with appropriate nutritional recovery during adolescence offers the best chance of a full recovery. Treatment of AN is complicated by the high rate of comorbid psychiatric diagnoses, the physical and cognitive effects of the attendant malnutrition, and the lack of effective pharmacologic interventions. Approximately 75% of patients with AN have a comorbid psychiatric illness, including depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, and anxiety. Anxiety disorders in particular share attributes with AN, including perfectionism, rigidity, compulsivity, and harm avoidance in addition to trait anxiety. Complicating treatment, the risk and severity of patients' anxiety is enhanced by a lower body mass index (BMI), and this low BMI is the likely reason why standard medication treatments for generalized anxiety, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors are ineffective. In order to address these treatment challenges, we propose to study the tolerability, feasibility and efficacy of a non-pharmacologic interventions for anxiety in adolescents with AN: omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) supplementation.

Over the past 15 years, there has been an interest in possible associations between fish oil and affective illness, particularly depression. Low plasma levels of docosahexaenoic acid, an essential fatty acid found in fish oil, are associated with low concentrations of cerebrospinal fluid 5-hydroxyindolacetic acid (5-HIAA), a marker of central nervous system serotonin turnover. Epidemiologically, those populations with higher fish oil consumption tend to have lower rates of depression, and reported low levels of fish consumption have been associated with a greater risk of depression in women. It has been hypothesized that omega-3 PUFAs alter brain phospholipid composition and enhance membrane fluidity, and this is supported by evidence that supplementation with omega-3 PUFAs decreases brain water proton transverse relaxation times in patients with bipolar disorder. The association with depression and the proposed mechanism of action elicited some interest regarding associations between omega-3 PUFAs and anxiety disorders. Supplementation trials have shown mixed results, with no effects for obsessive compulsive disorder in patients taking maximum doses of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, and another showing decreased anxiety symptoms in 22 patients enrolled in a substance abuse treatment program. Recently, Kiecolt-Glaser and colleagues described a decrease in test-related anxiety symptoms in a non-clinical sample of medical students related to supplementation with omega-3 PUFAs. Although there has been some interest in the use of omega-3 PUFA supplementation as an adjunctive treatment for anorexia nervosa, there have been no systematic trials.

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Study Type : Interventional  (Clinical Trial)
Actual Enrollment : 24 participants
Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: Quadruple (Participant, Care Provider, Investigator, Outcomes Assessor)
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: Treatment of Anxiety and Anorexia Nervosa in Adolescents
Study Start Date : August 2013
Actual Primary Completion Date : December 2016
Actual Study Completion Date : December 2016

Resource links provided by the National Library of Medicine

MedlinePlus related topics: Anxiety
Drug Information available for: Fish oil

Arm Intervention/treatment
Experimental: Fish oil
Fish oil for 12 weeks
Drug: Fish oil
Participants will take 4 capsules daily
Other Names:
  • ProEPA Xtra soft gel capsules
  • Eicosapentaenoic acid (2120mg)/ docosahexaenoic acid (600mg)

Placebo Comparator: Placebo pill
Placebo pills for 12 weeks
Drug: Placebo pill
Participants will take 4 capsules daily
Other Name: soybean oil placebo capsules

Primary Outcome Measures :
  1. Medication Side Effects Score [ Time Frame: 6 and12 weeks ]
    At 6 and 12 weeks, medication tolerability was assessed via self-report of nine potential side effects (e.g. diarrhea, burping). Participants were asked whether they experienced these side effects "never, rarely, occasionally, frequently, or very frequently." Individual responses were assigned a numeric equivalent from 0 to 4, and summed for a total side effect score ranging from 0 to 36. Higher scores indicated greater frequency of side effects and lower medication tolerability.

Secondary Outcome Measures :
  1. Beck Anxiety Inventory-Trait (BAIT) [ Time Frame: Baseline, 6 weeks, and 12 weeks ]
    The BAIT is a 21-item self-report measure of anxiety severity rated on a 4-point Likert scale (0= rarely or never; 3= almost always). It has shown acceptable reliability and validity in an adolescent psychiatric inpatient population. BAIT scores over 26 indicate severe anxiety, scores 16-25 indicate moderate anxiety, scores 8-15 indicate mild anxiety, and scores 0-7 indicate a minimal level of anxiety. We chose to measure trait anxiety to examine beyond meal-related (state) anxiety.

Other Outcome Measures:
  1. Number of Participant Tolerating Saliva Collection and 24 Hour Heart Rate Monitor Use [ Time Frame: Baseline, 6 weeks, and 12 weeks ]

    At baseline, 6 weeks, and 12 weeks, study participants were asked to collect salivary samples 5 times over a 24 hour period. In addition, participants were asked to wear a 24 hour heart monitor during this same 24 hour interval. Compliance wtth completion of these physiological measures was assessed as follows:

    1. For saliva collection, compliance was assessed by return of 5 full vials of saliva with record of time collected.
    2. For 24 hour heart rate monitor, compliance was assessed by return of monitor with then downloading of data to confirm that the participant wore the device during the specified time interval.

Information from the National Library of Medicine

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Ages Eligible for Study:   12 Years to 21 Years   (Child, Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

Inclusion Criteria:

Females admitted to Nationwide Children's Hospital Eating Disorder Partial Hospitalization Program

Exclusion Criteria:

  1. Inability to take pills
  2. Co-morbid medical conditions affecting appetite and weight (e.g., inflammatory bowel disease, cancer, cystic fibrosis)
  3. Co-morbid psychiatric conditions affecting appetite and weight (e.g., bipolar disorder, substance abuse)
  4. Currently taking fish oil supplements
  5. Inability to participate in study for 12 consecutive weeks.

Information from the National Library of Medicine

To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contact information provided by the sponsor.

Please refer to this study by its identifier (NCT number): NCT01933243

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United States, Ohio
Nationwide Children's Hospital
Columbus, Ohio, United States, 43205
Sponsors and Collaborators
Andrea Bonny
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Principal Investigator: Andrea Bonny, MD Nationwide Children's Hospital
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Responsible Party: Andrea Bonny, Principal Investigator, Nationwide Children's Hospital Identifier: NCT01933243    
Other Study ID Numbers: TAANA-287112
First Posted: September 2, 2013    Key Record Dates
Results First Posted: April 23, 2018
Last Update Posted: April 23, 2018
Last Verified: March 2018
Individual Participant Data (IPD) Sharing Statement:
Plan to Share IPD: No
Keywords provided by Andrea Bonny, Nationwide Children's Hospital:
Anorexia nervosa
Fish oil
Additional relevant MeSH terms:
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Anxiety Disorders
Anorexia Nervosa
Mental Disorders
Signs and Symptoms, Digestive
Signs and Symptoms
Feeding and Eating Disorders