Psychopharmacological Options in the Multidisciplinary and Multidimensional Treatment of Eating Disorders

Walter Milano1, Anna Capasso2, *
1 Departmental Operative Unit, “EatingDisorders” ASL North Naples 2, Italy
2 Department of Pharmacy, University of Salerno, 84084-Fisciano, Italy

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© 2019 Milano and Capasso.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Pharmacy, University of Salerno, 84084-Fisciano, Italy; E-mail:


Eating Disorders (ED) are a syndrome characterized by persistent alteration of eating behavior and the conditions that cause insufficient ingestion and/or adsorption of foods. There are three different ED diseases: Anorexia Nervosa (AN), Bulimia Nervosa (BN) and Binge Eating Disorders (BED). ED are complex conditions that arise from a combination of long-standing behavioral, emotional, psychological, interpersonal, and social factors. A common trait to all EDs is the incongruous diet, often based on arbitrary parameters, disconnected from physiological needs, with a strong alteration of the sensations of hunger and satiety, to which variations in weight, body composition, health status and quality of life of patients occur. Although EDs are relatively frequent psychiatric disorders in the general population, especially in adolescent and juvenile age groups, evidence based on the scientific evidence of the efficacy of the pharmacological treatment of EDAs remains modest. The currently available international guidelines related to the pharmacological treatment of EDs are currently few and not always adequately informative, as they are affected by the lack of studies on the subject. As a further consequence of this it is not surprising that, with the sole exception of fluoxetine for the treatment of Bulimia Nervosa (BN) symptoms, no psychopharmaceutical has been authorized by national and international regulators for the treatment of ED.

This narrative review focuses on the advantages and limitations of drugs used in the treatment of ED.

Keywords: Antidepressants, Anti-obesity drugs, Antipsychotics, Eating Disorders, Hormonal therapy, Mood stabilizing drugs.