Skip to main content
eScholarship
Open Access Publications from the University of California

UCSF

UC San Francisco Previously Published Works bannerUCSF

Treating severe and enduring anorexia nervosa: a randomized controlled trial.

  • Author(s): Touyz, S
  • Le Grange, D
  • Lacey, H
  • Hay, P
  • Smith, R
  • Maguire, S
  • Bamford, B
  • Pike, KM
  • Crosby, RD
  • et al.
Abstract

Background

There are no evidence-based treatments for severe and enduring anorexia nervosa (SE-AN). This study evaluated the relative efficacy of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT-AN) and specialist supportive clinical management (SSCM) for adults with SE-AN.

Method

Sixty-three participants with a diagnosis of AN, who had at least a 7-year illness history, were treated in a multi-site randomized controlled trial (RCT). During 30 out-patient visits spread over 8 months, they received either CBT-AN or SSCM, both modified for SE-AN. Participants were assessed at baseline, end of treatment (EOT), and at 6- and 12-month post-treatment follow-ups. The main outcome measures were quality of life, mood disorder symptoms and social adjustment. Weight, eating disorder (ED) psychopathology, motivation for change and health-care burden were secondary outcomes.

Results

Thirty-one participants were randomized to CBT-AN and 32 to SSCM with a retention rate of 85% achieved at the end of the study. At EOT and follow-up, both groups showed significant improvement. There were no differences between treatment groups at EOT. At the 6-month follow-up, CBT-AN participants had higher scores on the Weissman Social Adjustment Scale (WSAS; p = 0.038) and at 12 months they had lower Eating Disorder Examination (EDE) global scores (p = 0.004) and higher readiness for recovery (p = 0.013) compared to SSCM.

Conclusions

Patients with SE-AN can make meaningful improvements with both therapies. Both treatments were acceptable and high retention rates at follow-up were achieved. Between-group differences at follow-up were consistent with the nature of the treatments given.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Item not freely available? Link broken?
Report a problem accessing this item