A Paradigm for Facilitating Pharmacotherapy at a Distance: Sertraline Treatment of the Night Eating Syndrome
J Clin Psychiatry 2006;67(10):1568-1572
© Copyright 2014 Physicians Postgraduate Press, Inc.
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Objective: To test a novel method of
facilitating pharmacotherapy at a distance and assess
the effectiveness of sertraline for the treatment
of night eating syndrome (NES).
Method: The effectiveness of the
selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor sertraline in the
treatment of NES was assessed at a distance. NES
is characterized by a delay in the circadian
rhythm of food intake, with evening hyperphagia
and/or nighttime awakenings and ingestions.
Persons who contacted us through our Web site, e-mail,
or telephone for help with their NES completed a Night Eating Questionnaire and received a
semistructured interview (Night Eating Syndrome
History and Inventory) to determine the presence
of NES. Fifty such persons received treatment with sertraline from their own physicians, to whom
we offered consultation. Participants completed
questionnaires every 2 weeks for 8 weeks and received a final telephone interview to assess
their progress. Outcomes were compared with those from an earlier face-to-face open-label trial
of sertraline. The study was conducted from September 2003 to May 2005.
Results: Both the questionnaires and
interviews showed improvements in 5 key aspects of NES: the general Night Eating Symptom
Scale, evening hyperphagia, nighttime awakenings,
nocturnal ingestions, and the Beck Depression
Inventory (all p < .001), and the mean body weight
of the 41 overweight and obese subjects, reported
by survey, fell 3.0 kg (p = .01). These results
are similar to those obtained in an earlier
face-to-face trial of sertraline with NES.
Conclusion: The study confirmed the
effectiveness of sertraline in the treatment of NES
and introduced a paradigm for facilitating
pharmacotherapy at a distance.