Gastrointestinal symptoms following treatment for anorexia nervosa: A systematic literature review

West, Madeline, McMaster, Caitlin M., Staudacher, Heidi M., Hart, Susan, Jacka, Felice N., Stewart, Tim, Loughman, Amy, Rocks, Tetyana, and Ruusunen, Anu (2021) Gastrointestinal symptoms following treatment for anorexia nervosa: A systematic literature review. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 54 (6). pp. 936-951.

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Objective: Gastrointestinal (GI) disturbances are a frequent and burdensome experience for patients with anorexia nervosa (AN). How GI symptoms respond to current interventions is not well characterized, yet is critical to facilitate treatment success, and to inform the development of new treatments for AN. Therefore, the aim of this systematic review was to identify which treatments are effective in improving GI symptoms in patients with AN.

Method: A systematic search for studies of AN treatments measuring GI symptoms pre- and post-treatment was conducted in May 2020 (PROSPERO ID: CRD42020181328). After removal of duplicates, title and abstracts of 3,370 studies were screened. Methodological quality was assessed using National Institute of Health Quality Assessment Tool.

Results: Following full-text screening, 13 studies (12 observational studies and 1 randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial) with 401 participants met eligibility criteria and were included. All observational studies included a component of nutritional rehabilitation, with half (n = 6) involving concurrent psychological treatment. The randomized controlled trial reported a drug therapy. Eleven studies reported an improvement in all (n = 6) or at least one (n = 5) patient-reported GI symptom following treatment. Two studies reported no change. Methodological quality was fair or poor across all studies.

Discussion: This is the first systematic review to synthesize available evidence on the trajectory of patient-reported GI symptoms from commencement to end of treatment for AN. The results suggest that most studies showed improvement in one or more GI symptom in response to current treatments. Future therapeutic approaches should consider GI symptoms within their design for optimal treatment adherence and outcomes.

Item ID: 67024
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1098-108X
Keywords: anorexia nervosa, digestive system diseases, digestive system physiological phenomena, feeding and eating disorders, gastrointestinal diseases, signs and symptoms digestive
Copyright Information: © 2021 Wiley Periodicals LLC
Date Deposited: 03 May 2022 02:40
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