Does medication work for eating disorders?


Restrictive eating disorders

(e.g. Anorexia Nervosa, ARFID)

We do not yet fully understand the brain biology of eating disorders. At present, there is no research evidence that tells us that medication is an effective treatment for Anorexia Nervosa or other restrictive eating disorders.

Medication may be helpful to you if you have a co-occurring diagnosis of depression or anxiety and if you are eating enough for the medication to work effectively in your body. However, for many people with restrictive eating disorders,  feelings of depression and anxiety are often the result of low energy and nutrition and they will improve after a period of weight restoration.


Non-restrictive eating disorders

(e.g. Bulimia Nervosa, BED)

There is some limited research suggesting that certain antidepressants may be helpful to reduce the symptoms of Bulimia Nervosa. However, this research is limited and no medication is licenced in Ireland to treat Bulimia Nervosa or Binge Eating Disorder at this time.

Medication may be helpful for you if you have a co-occurring diagnosis of depression or anxiety.

Children and Adolescents

There has been very little research in this age group to date. Medication is therefore not recommended to treat eating disorder symptoms and behaviours in people under 18 years.