Fluoxetine to Prevent Relapse and Enhance Psychological Recovery in Women With Anorexia Nervosa

This study has been completed.
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
New York State Psychiatric Institute
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier:
First received: February 6, 2006
Last updated: March 24, 2015
Last verified: March 2015
This study will evaluate the effectiveness of fluoxetine versus placebo in reducing the rate of relapse of anorexia nervosa (AN) and enhancing the psychosocial and behavioral recovery of people who have been treated for AN.

Condition Intervention Phase
Anorexia Nervosa
Eating Disorders
Drug: Fluoxetine
Phase 4

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Allocation: Randomized
Endpoint Classification: Efficacy Study
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: Double Blind (Subject, Investigator)
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: Fluoxetine After Weight Restoration in Anorexia Nervosa

Resource links provided by NLM:

Further study details as provided by New York State Psychiatric Institute:

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • Rate of AN relapse over 12 months (measured at Month 12) [ Time Frame: 12 months ] [ Designated as safety issue: No ]

Secondary Outcome Measures:
  • Reduction in psychopathology associated with AN (measured at Months 12, 15, 18, 21, and 24) [ Time Frame: 24 months ] [ Designated as safety issue: No ]

Enrollment: 80
Study Start Date: January 2000
Study Completion Date: May 2008
Primary Completion Date: May 2008 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Arms Assigned Interventions
Experimental: fluoxetine
fluoxetine up to 80 mg per day
Drug: Fluoxetine
Placebo Comparator: Placebo

Detailed Description:

Anorexia nervosa (AN), a type of eating disorder, is a serious psychiatric illness that is characterized by an extreme loss of appetite. People with AN view themselves as overweight and cannot bring themselves to eat, even though most are dangerously thin. Signs of the disorder include unusual eating habits, such as avoiding food and meals, picking out a few foods and eating them in small quantities, or carefully weighing and portioning food. Some people with AN fully recover after a single episode, some have a fluctuating pattern of weight gain and relapse, and others experience a chronic course of illness over many years. Effective drugs to treat the disorder are lacking. In addition, most past research has examined the effect of medications during the initial phase of treatment, a time when AN patients may not respond to medication because of the acute effects of starvation. Fluoxetine is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) that is commonly used to treat depression. This study will evaluate the effectiveness of fluoxetine versus placebo in reducing the rate of relapse of AN and enhancing the psychosocial and behavioral recovery of women who have already been treated for AN.

Participants in this double-blind study will be recruited immediately following completion of a treatment program for AN, in which they maintained a body mass index (BMI) of at least 19 kg/m2 for two weeks. Upon study entry, participants will be randomly assigned to receive either fluoxetine or placebo for 12 months. Participants will begin receiving medication one week prior to discharge from the hospital in which they received care for AN. Medication doses will be increased up to a target dose of 60 mg per day, and will not exceed 80 mg per day. Participants will receive 50 sessions of cognitive-behavioral therapy, lasting approximately 45 minutes each and occurring twice weekly for the first month following discharge from the hospital. After the first month, therapy sessions will occur once weekly until Month 9 and then every other week until Month 12. Participants will also report to the study site to meet with a psychiatrist once a week for the first month following discharge and then every other week for the remainder of the study. General medical status, evidence of AN relapse, medication dose, and side effects will be assessed at these visits. Upon completing treatment, follow-up telephone calls will occur at Months 15 and 21, and follow-up visits will be held at Months 18 and 24. Psychopathology associated with AN, including concern with weight and shape, depressive symptoms, anxiety, and obsessive behavior, will be assessed.


Ages Eligible for Study:   16 Years to 45 Years
Genders Eligible for Study:   Female
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Meets DSM-IV criteria for anorexia nervosa (except the requirement for amenorrhea)
  • Successfully completed treatment at one of the study sites in an inpatient or day-program setting immediately prior to study entry (BMI remained at least 19 kg/m2 for two weeks)

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Currently taking any medications other than occasional lorazepam or zopiclone for anxiety or sleep disturbance
  • Previous serious adverse reactions to fluoxetine (e.g., allergy)
  • Currently at risk for suicide
  • Any medical condition requiring treatment with other psychotropic medication (except the occasional use of anti-anxiety medication)
  • Pregnant
  • Any serious medical illness besides the eating disorder
  • History of continuous illness (at a low weight with no periods of remission or return to normal functioning for more than 15 years)
  Contacts and Locations
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Please refer to this study by its ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT00288574

United States, New York
New York State Psychiatric Institute/Columbia University Medical Center
New York, New York, United States, 10032
Sponsors and Collaborators
New York State Psychiatric Institute
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Principal Investigator: B. Timothy Walsh, MD New York State Psychiatric Institute/Columbia University Medical Center
Principal Investigator: Allan Kaplan, MD Toronto General Hospital
  More Information

Responsible Party: New York State Psychiatric Institute
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT00288574     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: #4703R  R01MH060271  R01MH060336  DSIR AT-P 
Study First Received: February 6, 2006
Last Updated: March 24, 2015
Health Authority: United States: Institutional Review Board
United States: Federal Government

Keywords provided by New York State Psychiatric Institute:

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Anorexia Nervosa
Feeding and Eating Disorders
Mental Disorders
Signs and Symptoms
Signs and Symptoms, Digestive
Antidepressive Agents
Antidepressive Agents, Second-Generation
Cytochrome P-450 CYP2D6 Inhibitors
Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme Inhibitors
Enzyme Inhibitors
Membrane Transport Modulators
Molecular Mechanisms of Pharmacological Action
Neurotransmitter Agents
Neurotransmitter Uptake Inhibitors
Physiological Effects of Drugs
Psychotropic Drugs
Serotonin Agents
Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors

ClinicalTrials.gov processed this record on May 26, 2016