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An Open-Label Trial of Sibutramine in Obese Patients With Binge-Eating Disorder

Jose C. Appolinario, M.D.; Amelio Godoy-Matos, M.D.; Leonardo F. Fontenelle, M.D.; Lucia Carraro, M.D.; Monica Cabral, M.D.; Andrea Vieira, M.D.; and Walmir Coutinho, M.D.


Background: Binge-eating disorder was recently included in Appendix B of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV). Binge-eating disorder is a common diagnosis among patients who seek treatment for obesity. There are scant data about the efficacy of the novel antiobesity agents for binge-eating disorder. The objective of this article is to present data from an open-label study of the efficacy and tolerability of sibutramine in a group of obese binge eaters.

Method: Ten obese patients with DSM-IV binge-eating disorder and no medical comorbidity were consecutively selected from individuals seeking treatment for obesity in our clinic. Treatment with sibutramine, 15 mg/day, was administered for 12 weeks. The number of days with binge episodes per week, the number of binge episodes per week, the Binge Eating Scale (BES), the Beck Depression Inventory, and body weight evaluation were employed for outcome assessment.

Results: Seven patients completed the trial. They showed a complete resolution of binge-eating disorder with no binge-eating episodes at the end of the treatment. The mean±SD number of days with binge episodes per week changed significantly from 5.2±1.8 at baseline to 0.8±1.9 at the end of the study (p<.001), and the mean BES score fell from 31.2±6.2 to 15.2±8.2. There was a reduction of body weight (mean=4.0 kg [8.9 lb]) from baseline to the end of the study. No serious adverse effects were observed.

Conclusion: Sibutramine might be an effective and well-tolerated agent in the treatment of binge-eating disorder in obese patients.

(J Clin Psychiatry 2002;63:28-30)


Received Jan. 2, 2001; accepted Aug. 17, 2001. From the Obesity and Eating Disorders Group, Institute of Psychiatry, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, and the Institute of Diabetes and Endocrinology of Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Presented as a poster at the annual meeting of the North American Association for the Study of Obesity, October 29-November 2, 2000; Long Beach, Calif.

The authors thank Michael J. Devlin, M.D., for his review of the manuscript.

Reprint requests to: Jose C. Appolinario, M.D., Rua Visconde de Pirajá, 550/2002 - Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 22410-001 (e-mail: appolinario@biohard.com.br).