A placebo-controlled pilot study of adjunctive olanzapine for adolescents with anorexia nervosa

J Child Adolesc Psychopharmacol. 2011 Jun;21(3):207-12. doi: 10.1089/cap.2010.0139.


Objective: The objective of this study was to explore whether the addition of olanzapine versus placebo increases weight gain and improves psychological symptoms in adolescents with anorexia nervosa-restricting type who are participating in a comprehensive eating disorders treatment program.

Methods: Twenty underweight females participated in this 10-week, double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot study of olanzapine. The primary efficacy measure was change in percentage of median body weight measured at baseline and weeks 5 and 10. Secondary efficacy measures included clinician-rated and self-reported measures of psychological functioning measured at 2-week intervals and eating disorder symptoms measured at baseline and weeks 5 and 10 as well as laboratory assessments (including indirect calorimetry), which were also performed at baseline and weeks 5 and 10. A mixed models approach to repeated measures analysis of variance was utilized to detect any treatment-by-time interaction.

Results: Fifteen of 20 enrolled females (median age, 17.1 years; range, 12.3-21.8 years; mean body mass index, 16.3) completed this 10-week pilot study. Change in % median body weight did not differ between the treatment groups at midpoint or end of study. Both groups gained weight at a similar rate and had similar improvements in eating attitudes and behaviors, psychological functioning, and resting energy expenditure. A trend of increasing fasting glucose and insulin levels was found only in the olanzapine group at week 10.

Conclusions: These preliminary findings do not support a role for adjunctive olanzapine for underweight adolescent females with anorexia nervosa-restricting type who are receiving standard care in an eating disorder treatment program (clinical trials.gov; no. NCT00592930).

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Anorexia Nervosa / drug therapy*
  • Anorexia Nervosa / therapy
  • Antipsychotic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Benzodiazepines / therapeutic use*
  • Blood Glucose / drug effects
  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • Child
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Feeding Behavior / drug effects
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Insulin / blood
  • Models, Statistical
  • Olanzapine
  • Pilot Projects
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult


  • Antipsychotic Agents
  • Blood Glucose
  • Insulin
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Olanzapine

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT00592930