A randomized controlled trial of in-patient treatment for anorexia nervosa in medically unstable adolescents

Madden, S., Miskovic-Wheatley, J., Wallis, A., Kohn, M., Lock, J., Le Grange, D., Jo, B., Clarke, S., Rhodes, P., Hay, P., and Touyz, S. (2015) A randomized controlled trial of in-patient treatment for anorexia nervosa in medically unstable adolescents. Psychological Medicine, 45 (2). pp. 415-427.

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Abstract

Background: Anorexia nervosa (AN) is a serious disorder incurring high costs due to hospitalization. International treatments vary, with prolonged hospitalizations in Europe and shorter hospitalizations in the USA. Uncontrolled studies suggest that longer initial hospitalizations that normalize weight produce better outcomes and fewer admissions than shorter hospitalizations with lower discharge weights. This study aimed to compare the effectiveness of hospitalization for weight restoration (WR) to medical stabilization (MS) in adolescent AN.

Method: We performed a randomized controlled trial (RCT) with 82 adolescents, aged 12-18 years, with a DSM-IV diagnosis of AN and medical instability, admitted to two pediatric units in Australia. Participants were randomized to shorter hospitalization for MS or longer hospitalization for WR to 90% expected body weight (EBW) for gender, age and height, both followed by 20 sessions of out-patient, manualized family-based treatment (FBT).

Results: The primary outcome was the number of hospital days, following initial admission, at the 12-month follow-up. Secondary outcomes were the total number of hospital days used up to 12 months and full remission, defined as healthy weight (>95% EBW) and a global Eating Disorder Examination (EDE) score within 1 standard deviation (S.D.) of published means. There was no significant difference between groups in hospital days following initial admission. There were significantly more total hospital days used and post-protocol FBT sessions in the WR group. There were no moderators of primary outcome but participants with higher eating psychopathology and compulsive features reported better clinical outcomes in the MS group.

Conclusions: Outcomes are similar with hospitalizations for MS or WR when combined with FBT. Cost savings would result from combining shorter hospitalization with FBT.

Item ID: 41987
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1469-8978
Keywords: Anorexia nervosa, family-based treatment, in-patient treatment, medical instability, treatment optimization
Funders: National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC)
Projects and Grants: NHMRC Grant ID 457235
Date Deposited: 08 Dec 2015 18:42
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1111 Nutrition and Dietetics > 111199 Nutrition and Dietetics not elsewhere classified @ 50%
17 PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES > 1701 Psychology > 170106 Health, Clinical and Counselling Psychology @ 50%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9202 Health and Support Services > 920209 Mental Health Services @ 45%
92 HEALTH > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920401 Behaviour and Health @ 30%
92 HEALTH > 9202 Health and Support Services > 920204 Evaluation of Health Outcomes @ 25%
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