Medications for Treatment of Bulimia

Medications for Treatment of Bulimia

The toll bulimia takes on a person’s heart, mind and spirit can be devastating but recovery is possible. Medications are often prescribed to support eating disorder treatment. Medication can provide valuable support for recovery by minimizing impulsive desires to binge eat, stabilize moods and help dope with depression or anxiety. Drugs are not enough to ensure a full recovery but can provide stability to get on the right path.

Medication for Bulimia

Medication for eating disorder treatment is prescribed by a doctor and is supervised by a healthcare practitioner or therapist. The best way to get medication for bulimia is to participate in an eating disorder treatment program that includes psychotherapeutic support, group meetings and nutritional guidance. Counseling for mental and physical health are both important elements of a program for treating bulimia and may look at the following:

Whether a co-occurring mood disorder like depression or anxiety is happening alongside the eating disorder

Whether co-existing health conditions like liver disease, heart problems or diabetes are present

Whether medication or drugs may interfere with psychiatric medications

Whether a person has unsuccessfully tried to stop binging and purging without medication

A full course of treatment is recommended as bulimia does not go away with just medication and they do not take effect straight away. It helps to have regular meetings with a therapist and support groups to keep moving forward in recovery.

Effective Medications

Antidepressant medications are widely used in bulimia therapy. Medications can affect the brain’s production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter which regulates mood and is considered effective at treating bulimia. Selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) make up a family of antidepressants which increase the level of naturally produced chemical in the brain. Many people who have bulimia benefit from SSRIs which inhibit the impulse to eat and purge. Some examples may include:

  • Fluoxetine (Prozac) approved by USFDA for treatment of bulimia
  • Citalopram (Celexa)
  • Sertraline (Zoloft)
  • Paroxetine (Paxil)

Antidepressants such as imipramine and nortryptaline and monoamine have serious side effects and interactions that drugs in the SSRI family do not exhibit. Highly specialized doctors and therapists can help select the best medication.

Other Means of Support

Getting help through medication is only one aspect of treatment. A therapist such as psychologist or psychiatrist may continue to play a critical role in the healing process which helps identify self-defeating thoughts and replace those with new, more healthy behaviors. Behavioral modification therapy can help handle triggers that arise while group work is critical to learn in sharing with others and receiving emotional support. Treatment requires a multi-faceted approach so each individual must find the best way to progress through recovery that suits their needs.

Blueprints provides recovery for challenges of drug use with individualized, tailored programs to support long term goals. Client to staff ratio is low which provides individualized attention and help for the journey ahead. Call us to find out more on how we can help you or your loved one in recovery.


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