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

UC San Diego

UC San Diego Previously Published Works bannerUC San Diego

Pharmacotherapeutic strategies for the treatment of anorexia nervosa – too much for one drug?



Anorexia nervosa is a severe psychiatric illness and no medication has been approved for its treatment. This lack of biological treatments requires the development of new directions for pharmacological research.

Areas covered

There is modest but emerging evidence that dopamine D2 and serotonin 1A and 2A receptor agonistic and antagonist medication might be beneficial for weight gain, although the underlying mechanisms are uncertain. Improving quality of life including treating comorbid conditions is an additional important outcome measure, but this has not been well researched. Biological and psychological risk factors together with neurobiological alterations during the illness maintain the disorder 's pathophysiology. Neuroscience research can be used to understand those interactions and advance the research agenda. The authors discuss the above as well as give perspectives on future research.

Expert opinion

If a multidisciplinary approach that includes evidence-based psychotherapy shows unsatisfactory success in weight normalization and cognitive-emotional recovery, then more experimental treatments that are safe and have indicated treatment effectiveness should be tried to augment treatment. Identification and treatment of comorbid conditions to improve quality of life of the patient should also be part of the treatment regimen, even if the effect on weight gain is uncertain.

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.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View