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A double-blind placebo-controlled comparison of phenelzine and imipramine in the treatment of bulimia in atypical depressives.

Author(s): Rothschild R, Quitkin HM, Quitkin FM, Stewart JW, Ocepek-Welikson K, McGrath PJ, Tricamo E

Affiliation(s): College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York, NY.

Publication date & source: 1994-01, Int J Eat Disord., 15(1):1-9.

Publication type: Clinical Trial; Comparative Study ; Randomized Controlled Trial

Although antidepressants have been found to be superior to placebo in 12 of 14 studies, the relationship between improvement in the depressive diathesis and bulimia is unclear. In this study, the efficacy of placebo, imipramine, and phenelzine is examined in patients comorbid for atypical depression and bulimia. Greater improvement was observed for both depressive and bulimic symptoms with phenelzine than with either imipramine or placebo. Consistent with its poor antidepressant effects in atypical depression, imipramine seemed to have minimal efficacy for the bulimic symptoms of atypical depressives. These data suggest that the presence of bulimia does not alter the treatment response of atypically depressed patients. Furthermore, the data may suggest a link between depression and bulimia in atypical depressives. Demonstrating a statistical difference with a small sample suggests the effect size is robust, however conclusions are limited by a small sample size.

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