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Treating Bulimia With Desipramine A Double-blind, Placebo-Controlled Study

Patrick L. Hughes, MD; Lloyd A. Wells, PhD, MD; Carol J. Cunningham, MS; Duane M. Ilstrup, MS
Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1986;43(2):182-186. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1986.01800020092012.
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• A controlled study in patients with bulimia demonstrated a significant benefit from desipramine hydrochloride treatment (91% decrease in binge frequency) in contrast to the results from a placebo (19% increase in frequency). When patients originally taking the placebo crossed over to desipramine therapy, their frequency of binges decreased 84%, so that the overall improvement was 87% fewer binges. Global clinical status improved 3.5 scales, Zung depression scores improved 8.0 points, and a bulimia symptom scale improved 14.7 points. Fifteen (68%) of 22 patients attained complete abstinence from binge eating and purging. The presence or absence of previous episodes of anorexia nervosa did not influence the treatment response. One-month follow-up data indicated persistence of the benefit attained.


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