Experimental Treatment for Anorexia

Can a pill help anorexics? It could mean lives changed and saved, Dr. Bruce Hensel reported.

"The eating disorder anorexia nervosa is a brain disorder that distorts a person's thinking about food. It's usually treated with therapy, and sometimes hospitalization. This pill, formerly used for other conditions,may help," Dr. Hensel said.

Leta Phelps is an excellent artist:  "I never dreamed it would blossom into a business." 

She just started selling her stained glass pieces at art shows and on the web. 

Phelps Has anorexia.

"My therapist encouraged me to find something I could do, that I could focus on that I could try to make a new avenue for my thought processes, and it has helped, it really has," she said.

It has helped Phelp's anorexia, which shes  her latest relapse sent her to a specialist, Dr. Pauline Powers: "She decided to come to a study that we're doing, using a new medication to see if it's affective for people with eating disorders."

They're testing the anti-psychotic mood stabilizer, seroquel, to see if it can help anorexics manage the destructive thought process that fuels their food and body issues. 

"We don't have any medications approved for anorexia nervosa. And there's only one medication approved for any eating disorder. It's approved for bulimia, fluoxetine or its trade name is prozac. And unfortunately it does not help people with anorexia," Dr. Powers said. 

The seroquel study continues, and despite a few side effects, both doctor and patient have seen early, promising results. 

"When i get up in the morning and say 'I'm gonna restrict today,' I'm able to make that rationalization 'no, you don't have to do that,' which i couldn't do before. I don't know if there's some chemical that's been kicked on or what, but i can do it now." 

Leta's weight is back in a healthy, normal range and her thoughts about food have improved.
"If there's a good barometer for how well i think i've done, the person that came into this study is not the person you see before you. I'm 100 percent better," Dr. Phelps said.

Now she's focused on her next project, a stained glass replica of this painting done for doctor powers treatment center - hope house. It's a place where leta's found hope, and wants to spread the word

"We do need mrope study on the drug. If your child or anyone you know suffers from anorexia please get specialsit help; it requires treatment by someone with experience; untreated it can turn life threatening," Dr. Hensel said.

If you'd like to see leta's artwork, log onto her WEBSITE: Artglassbyleta.com

Anorexia affects up to one percent of all women in the U.S.
90 percent of anorexia patients are female.
With proper treatment, about 70 percent of patients with anorexia can get to and maintain a healthy weight.
The drug, SEROQUEL®, appears to ease some of the symptoms associated with anorexia and enables patients to gain weight.
For more details, refer to our comprehensive research summary.

For information about the trial, go to http://www.clinicaltrials.gov, then type the trial ID number in the search box: NCT00584688. You may also call the research coordinator at (813) 974-2415.

For information about SEROQUEL®: http://www.seroquel.com

For information about anorexia:
National Alliance on Mental Illness, http://www.nami.org
National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Eating Disorders, http://www.anad.org
National Eating Disorders Association, http://www.NationalEatingDisorders.org
National Institute of Mental Health, http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/eating-disorders
SAMHSA's National Mental Health Information Center, http://mentalhealth.samhsa.gov

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