Current Psychiatry Reports

, Volume 14, Issue 4, pp 398–405

Antipsychotic Agents in the Treatment of Anorexia Nervosa: Neuropsychopharmacologic Rationale and Evidence from Controlled Trials

Eating Disorders (E Attia, Section Editor)

DOI: 10.1007/s11920-012-0287-6

Cite this article as:
Brewerton, T.D. Curr Psychiatry Rep (2012) 14: 398. doi:10.1007/s11920-012-0287-6


The search for an effective psychopharmacologic strategy in the treatment of anorexia nervosa (AN) has been elusive for decades and has run the gamut from reserpine to typical antipsychotics, to lithium, to tetrahydrocannabinol, to growth hormone, to anticonvulsants, to antidepressants, to atypical antipsychotics. Only recently has there arisen a potential “diamond in the rough” in the form of the atypical antipsychotic agent, olanzapine, which, in four randomized clinical trials, has shown superiority to placebo (two studies), chlorpromazine (one study), and aripiprazole (one study) in terms of weight gain and/or reduction in obsessional symptoms. The pharmacologic profile of olanzapine and other antipsychotic medications is discussed in light of the known pathophysiology of AN involving serotonin and dopamine systems, as well as brain-derived neurotrophic factor.


Anorexia nervosa AN Eating disorders Antipsychotics Olanzapine Risperidone Aripiprazole Quetiapine Chlorpromazine Pimozide Sulpiride Serotonin 5-HT receptors Dopamine DA receptors Neuropsychopharmacology Neurophysiology Genetics Delusions Cognitive behavioral therapy Behavior therapy Treatment 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral SciencesMedical University of South CarolinaCharlestonUSA
  2. 2.Mt. PleasantUSA

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