A randomized, placebo-controlled trial of sertraline in the treatment of night eating syndrome

Am J Psychiatry. 2006 May;163(5):893-8. doi: 10.1176/ajp.2006.163.5.893.


Objective: The authors assessed the efficacy of sertraline in the treatment of night eating syndrome.

Method: Thirty-four outpatients diagnosed with night eating syndrome were randomly assigned to receive either sertraline (N=17) or placebo (N=17) in an 8-week, double-blind, flexible-dose (50-200 mg/day) study. A mixed effects linear regression model was used to analyze change in the primary outcome measure, Clinical Global Impression (CGI) improvement rating. Secondary outcomes included changes in night eating symptoms, the number of nocturnal awakenings and ingestions, total daily caloric intake after the evening meal, CGI severity ratings, quality of life ratings, and weight.

Results: Sertraline was associated with significantly greater improvement than placebo. Twelve subjects in the sertraline group (71%) were classified as having responded (CGI improvement rating < or = 2, indicating much or very much improved) versus only three (18%) in the placebo group. There were also significant improvements in night eating symptoms, CGI severity ratings, quality of life ratings, frequency of nocturnal ingestions and awakenings, and caloric intake after the evening meal. Overweight and obese subjects in the sertraline group (N=14) lost a significant amount of weight by week 8 (mean=-2.9 kg, SD=3.8) compared with overweight and obese subjects receiving placebo (N=14) (mean=-0.3 kg, SD=2.7).

Conclusions: In this 8-week trial, sertraline was effective in the treatment of night eating syndrome and was well tolerated.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Ambulatory Care
  • Circadian Rhythm / drug effects
  • Circadian Rhythm / physiology*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Eating / drug effects
  • Eating / physiology*
  • Energy Intake
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / epidemiology
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / diagnosis
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Placebos
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Quality of Life
  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Sertraline / pharmacology
  • Sertraline / therapeutic use*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Weight Loss / drug effects


  • Placebos
  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors
  • Sertraline