Eating disorders (EDs) are an important public health problem and not all patients respond adequately to psychotherapy. In the last decade, researchers report a significant comorbidity of EDs and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), especially binge eating disorder and bulimia nervosa. Some studies postulate the hypothesis of a common neurobiological substrate, such as noradrenergic pathways among others.
To revise the possible use of atomoxetine, a highly selective noradrenergic reuptake inhibitor, for the treatment of EDs.
We describe the effect of atomoxetine in a young woman with purging disorder and history of ADHD in childhood added to cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).
patient had selective/restrictive eating behaviours, daily purges and occasional binges for last five years. At age 14 she was diagnosed with ADHD by impulsivity/aggressiveness and poor school performance, but she did not take drugs and left medical consultations. She came to our specific unit of EDs in november-2015. Her BMI was 24.88 kg/m2. We initiated CBT and atomoxetine (80 mg/day). In this first year of treatment binges and purges have disappeared and exposure to new foods and body image have improved partially. We found clear improvement in mood, motivation and attention/concentration in relation with introduction of atomoxetine. These facts have positive impact on the clinical evolution. Her current BMI is 26.90 kg/m2.
Identify comorbid ADHD to assess the use of specific drugs for this disorder could be beneficial in the treatment and prognosis of EDs. However, more studies are needed to determine effectivenes, particularly of non-stimulant drugs.
The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.