Antidepressants For Eating Disorders

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Anorexia Nervosa

Prozac (fluoxetine) is an SRI and has proven to
support treatment for people with anorexia and depression.

· Cyproheptadine – Is an antihistamine that
stimulates appetite and may help relieve depression associated with appetite
loss and improve appetite for people with anorexia. *Keep in mind that loss of
appetite is only one aspect of anorexia and generally develops in an advanced
stage of the disease.

· Zyprexa (Olanzapine) – People with anorexia
often experience intense anxiety and subsequent depression in regard to food,
their body weight and eating. Since adapting healthier dietary habits is key
toward managing and recovering from anorexia, medications that help alleviate
anxiety may prove useful in treating emotional aspects of the disorder.  Zyprexa is a medication formally used to
treat schizophrenia and may improve treatment for low-weight anorexia patients.
Olanzapine works by reducing anxiety, obsessive thinking and depression caused
by these symptoms.

Bulimia Nervosa

· Antidepressant medicines reduce binge eating and
purging in up to 75% of people who have bulimia nervosa.

· Antidepressants regulate brain chemicals that
control mood. Guilt, anxiety, and depression about binging usually lead to
purging. Antidepressants help keep emotions stable and can help reduce the frequency
of binge-purge cycles.

· Antidepressants work best when combined with
psychological counseling for the treatment of bulimia.

· The antidepressants that is most commonly used
to reduce the binge-purge cycle associated with bulimia is Prozac (aka Fluoxetine).
Prozac is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). Prozac has proven to
reduces binge-purge cycles in bulimia.

Binge Eating

· Antidepressant medicines may reduce episodes of
binge eating in those who have binge eating disorder, and they may help with
related depression or anxiety.

· Antidepressants regulate brain chemicals that control
mood. They can help reduce the compulsive behavior that leads to binging. These
drugs can also help people who have both depression and binge eating disorder.

· It may take several weeks for antidepressants to
relieve symptoms associated with binge eating disorder, although they may become
effective sooner. You may need to continue taking antidepressants over a long
period of time to prevent a relapse.

· Antidepressants that have been proven effective
in treating binge eating disorder include

–  Prozac (fluoxetine)

–  Luvox  (fluvoxamine.)

–  Tofranil (tricyclics)

–  Norpramin

–  Wellbutrin (bupropion)

–  Trazodone

Antidepressant Side Effects

· Before starting an antidepressant, tell your
doctor about every medicine or supplement (prescription or nonprescription)
that you are taking. Some antidepressants can have serious interactions with
other medicines or dietary supplements.

· Antidepressants may produce some side effects.
But side effects may be reduced or may go away after several weeks of

· SSRI’s – Studies show that SSRIs may be less
bothersome than other antidepressants, such as tricyclics. SSRIs have less
serious side effects and are less dangerous in case of an overdose. Although
side effects of SSRIs are usually mild, they can include nausea, loss of
appetite, diarrhea, anxiety, irritability, problems sleeping or drowsiness,
loss of sexual desire or ability, headaches, dizziness, and dry mouth. After
several weeks of treatment, SSRI side effects may be less or may go away

· Tricyclic – Tricyclic side effects can include
stomach upset, constipation, dry mouth, blurred vision, and drowsiness. Some
people gain weight and have problems with sexual desire and ability. Tricyclics
are started in low doses and gradually increased to avoid overdose and other
serious side effects. Be sure to tell your doctor about all the medicines and
herbal preparations you are currently taking. Tricyclic antidepressants can
have serious interactions with other medicines, including those used to treat
seizures, such as phenytoin (Dilantin, for example), or certain heart
medicines, such as digoxin (for example, Lanoxin).

Please Remember

· You may start to feel better within 1 to 3 weeks
of taking antidepressant medicine. However, it can take as many as 6 to 8 weeks
to see more improvement. If you have questions or concerns about your
medicines, or if you do not notice any improvement by 3 weeks, talk to your

· SSRIs make bleeding more likely in the upper
gastrointestinal tract (stomach and esophagus). Taking SSRIs with NSAIDs (such
as Aleve or Advil) makes bleeding even more likely. Taking medicines that
control acid in the stomach may help.

· People who purge after they take antidepressants
may not get enough of the medicine into their blood. Doctors may recommend that
they take antidepressant medicine at bedtime after they have stopped purging.
People who purge often need to have their blood checked regularly to measure
the amount of medicine in their bloodstream.

If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating
disorder please call The Victorian. We are happy to answer any questions you
may have regarding treatment: (888) 268 – 9182

Eating Disorder Self Test. Take the EAT-26 self test to see if you might have eating disorder symptoms that might require professional evaluation. All answers are confidential.

Find a Treatment Facility Near You

Click on a state below to find eating disorder treatment options that could be right for you.

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