An open trial of fluoxetine for adolescents with bulimia nervosa

J Child Adolesc Psychopharmacol. 2003 Fall;13(3):329-35. doi: 10.1089/104454603322572660.


Objective: This open clinical trial examined the feasibility, tolerability, and efficacy of treating adolescents who suffer from bulimia nervosa with fluoxetine.

Methods: Ten adolescents, ages 12-18 years received 8 weeks of fluoxetine 60 mg/day with supportive psychotherapy. Primary outcome measures included frequencies of binge eating and purging and ratings on the Clinical Global Impressions-Improvement scale (CGI-I). Secondary outcome measures included self-report measures of eating disorder, depression, and anxiety symptoms. Safety and tolerability of this dose of fluoxetine were also assessed.

Results: Average weekly binges decreased significantly from 4.1 +/- 3.8 to 0 (p < 0.01). Average weekly purges decreased significantly from 6.4 +/- 5.2 to 0.4 +/- 0.9 (p < 0.005). All patients improved on the CGI-I scale, with 20% rated as much improved, 50% improved, and 30% slightly improved. All subjects tolerated the 60-mg dose of fluoxetine, and there were no dropouts due to adverse effects from the medication.

Discussion: Fluoxetine is generally well tolerated and may be an effective treatment option for adolescents with bulimia nervosa.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Antidepressive Agents, Second-Generation / adverse effects
  • Antidepressive Agents, Second-Generation / therapeutic use*
  • Anxiety / complications
  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Body Mass Index
  • Bulimia / complications
  • Bulimia / drug therapy*
  • Bulimia / psychology
  • Depressive Disorder / complications
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology
  • Female
  • Fluoxetine / adverse effects
  • Fluoxetine / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales


  • Antidepressive Agents, Second-Generation
  • Fluoxetine