CNS Drugs

, Volume 30, Issue 5, pp 419–442 | Cite as

The Role of Psychotropic Medications in the Management of Anorexia Nervosa: Rationale, Evidence and Future Prospects

  • Guido K. W. FrankEmail author
  • Megan E. Shott
Review Article


Anorexia nervosa (AN) is a severe psychiatric disorder without approved medication intervention. Every class of psychoactive medication has been tried to improve treatment outcome; however, randomized controlled trials have been ambiguous at best and across studies have not shown robust improvements in weight gain and recovery. Here we review the available literature on pharmacological interventions since AN came to greater public recognition in the 1960s, including a critical review of why those trials may not have been successful. We further provide a neurobiological background for the disorder and discuss how cognition, learning, and emotion-regulating circuits could become treatment targets in the future. Making every effort to develop effective pharmacological treatment options for AN is imperative as it continues to be a complex psychiatric disorder with high disease burden and mortality.


Dopamine Fluoxetine Olanzapine Anorexia Nervosa Paroxetine 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

Dr. Frank and Ms. Shott report no competing interests.




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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departments of Psychiatry and Neuroscience, and Developmental Brain Research ProgramUniversity of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Children’s Hospital ColoradoAuroraUSA
  2. 2.School of MedicineUniversity of Colorado Denver, Anschutz Medical CampusAuroraUSA

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