Treatment of Bulimia with Desipramine: A Double-Blind Crossover Study
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The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effect of desipramine, a tricyclic antidepressant with relatively specific noradrenergic effects, on bulimic behaviour, eating attitudes, and mood. Using a double-blind crossover design, 47 normal weight bulimics were randomly assigned to receive either desipramine (150 mg/day) for six weeks, no drug for three weeks, followed by placebo for six weeks, or the reverse sequence. At weeks 0, 2, 4, 6, 9, 11, 13, and 15, each subject was assessed using the EDI, SCL-90, POMS and binge records. Plasma desipramine levels were obtained at weeks 4 and 13. Twenty-four subjects completed the entire fifteen week protocol, while 23 dropped out. Desipramine was significantly more effective than placebo in reducing the frequency of weekly binding, weekly vomiting, and the fatigue scale of the POMS. No significant effect of the drug was obtained on the EDI or the SCL-90. The clinical effect was modest. Desipramine's antibulimic effects were not associated with an alleviation of depressive symptoms.
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