Olanzapine use for the adjunctive treatment of adolescents with anorexia nervosa

J Child Adolesc Psychopharmacol. 2011 Jun;21(3):213-20. doi: 10.1089/cap.2010.0131. Epub 2011 Apr 21.


Objective: To examine assessment and treatment profiles of adolescent patients with anorexia nervosa and eating disorder not otherwise specified who received olanzapine as compared with an untreated matched sample.

Method: A retrospective, matched-groups comparison study was completed. Medical files of 86 female patients treated in the eating disorder program at the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario were examined. Patients treated with olanzapine were initially identified through chart review and then matched to a diagnosis, age, and, when possible, treatment group that served as the active comparator. Weight gain was examined in a sample of 22 inpatients.

Results: Patients treated with olanzapine displayed greater evidence of psychopathology and medical compromise at the time of first assessment compared with those not treated. Rate of weight gain was not statistically different between groups when olanzapine was started during inpatient admissions. Medication effect on eating disorder cognitions could not be assessed given the presence of multiple confounders relating to treatment. Notable side effects included sedation and dyslipidemia in 56% of patients.

Conclusions: Despite our best attempts at matching olanzapine-treated subjects with a control sample, analysis revealed significant differences between groups, suggesting greater illness severity in those augmented with olanzapine. Given these inherent differences, we were unable to draw any firm conclusions regarding the potential efficacy of olanzapine. Factors associated with the prescription of adjunctive pharmacotherapy in this cohort appear to be linked to illness severity, acuity, and associated comorbidity. The observed side-effect profile indicates the need for more consistent predrug screening and for closer monitoring during treatment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Anorexia Nervosa / drug therapy*
  • Anorexia Nervosa / psychology
  • Anorexia Nervosa / therapy
  • Antipsychotic Agents / adverse effects
  • Antipsychotic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Benzodiazepines / adverse effects
  • Benzodiazepines / therapeutic use*
  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • Child
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Olanzapine
  • Research Design
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antipsychotic Agents
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Olanzapine