Anorexia nervosa generates a lot of interest, but advances in treatment have been slow and disappointing - especially in drug interventions.

In recent years a drug often used as an anti-psychotic in the treatment of schizophrenia has drawn more attention as an aid to the anxiety and obsessional thinking that can increase when nutrition is being re-stabilized and weight gain is under way.

Some research out of The Ottawa Hospital Regional Centre for the Treatment of Eating Disorders in Canada is adding to a growing interest in olanzapine during anorexia recovery. The Ottawa study was small, but confirms findings by others and a growing off-label use for this difficult to treat condition.

In a CTV interview, Dr. Wendy Spettigue said "Denial is a big part of the illness, so patients often don't recognize it and, if they do, they are often too afraid to get treatment."  

Patients with anorexia are often unable to bring themselves to restore themselves to a healthy weight and metabolism, while at the same time the brain changes from malnutrition drive the symptoms.

The study, Olanzapine in the Treatment of Low Body Weight and Obsessive Thinking in Women With Anorexia Nervosa. published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, is also discussed in this CTV report