Free anorexia nervosa treatment in Pittsburgh: medication study

A study announcement from University of Pittsburgh:

Volunteers Needed for Anorexia Nervosa Treatment Study: Researchers at the Center for Overcoming Problem Eating at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center are conducting a placebo-controlled trial to examine the effectiveness of a research medication in the outpatient treatment of adults with anorexia nervosa.  Eligible participants will be offered 16 weeks of medication (active or inactive) and medical monitoring by a psychiatrist. All treatment will be provided at no cost to you. If you are 18-55 years of age, have anorexia nervosa, and are able to attend treatment in Pittsburgh, you may be eligible to participate. Please call 412-246-5930 for more information.

For more studies, and important information on making the decision whether to participate in clinical trials, see the F.E.A.S.T. page on Clinical Trials in Eating Disorder Treatment.


  1. I couldn't work the video, unfortunately...

    I'd be interested to know what the medication is, its proposed mechanism of action, the study design, hypotheses etc.

    Not being pessimistic, but if this medication 'works' I'll eat my computer.

  2. Video? Cathy - which video?

    I'm not sure I hold out a dream of a medication that would treat anorexia, either, but I do hope we develop more tools for helping with the initiation of treatment - especially the start of normalized eating and the critical stage before normalized body composition. That would certainly be helpful in keeping people in treatment. I don't know what drug they're testing in this trial, though.

  3. Hi Laura

    I assumed it was a video because apart from your text, all I can see with my computer is a grey box at the centre of which is a small light-grey box with an arrow in it. I clicked on the arrow and nothing happened...

  4. I went into the html and stripped off all the nonsense. Should show normally now - sorry.

    "Thou shalt not cut and paste without stripping invisible code." is a commandment I keep breaking!

  5. Cathy,
    The drug is olanzapine. Will be interested to see if they can even keep people in the study.

  6. Olanzapine... Right... Hmm... Antipsychotic + Antidepressant with loads of nasty side-effects.

    Food works much better; seriously. There may be a time-lag in it working but in the long run it does work because I and many others have felt it work.

  7. I was given olanzapine for years and it did nothing for me or my fellow ed sufferers. A friend of mine developed anorexia from taking it. I don't think it's probably a good idea...

  8. Eleven years ago when I was 16, I was given zyprexa/olanzapine for depression and anxiety. I had absolutely NO body image or food issues at that time. As a result of that medication, I gained a significant amount of weight in one month and then was told to diet. That diet turned into seven YEARS of anorexia, overexercising, and two years of purging. I am so disheartened to have learned it is being used to TREAT the very thing it triggered in me, and even if it helps with weight restoration, it won't help with the actual issues that started it.

  9. I tend to agree, Ashley, especially since there are weight neutral antipsychotics available. Those show some promise in a small case series. The idea there is to address anxiety and cognitions rather than to take advantage of weight gain side effects (though of course patients do need to gain weight, whatever treatment they are undergoing.)

    I imagine recruitment and (especially) retention in this study will be really difficult. Adults with anorexia are likely to have a hard time accepting a drug with such well-known side effects. I would really like to see scarce research dollars spent elsewhere. (This is a $5 million study that's taking place at Pittsburgh, Hopkins, U Toronto and Weill Medical.)


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