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Anorexia Nervosa

Osteoporosis recovery in anorexia nervosa

Journal of Eating Disorders
By Philip S. Mehler, MD, FACP, FAED, CEDS

Anand P, Mehler PS. Osteoporosis recovery in anorexia nervosa. A case Study. Journal of Eating Disorders, 7: 38-41, 2020.


Osteoporosis represents a common and severe complication in patients with anorexia nervosa (AN) that normally persists despite weight restoration and the resumption of regular menses. The condition may result in significant pain, injury, and disability.

Case presentation

We report the only published case of a complete return to normal bone density following many years of severe osteoporosis in a severely malnourished patient with AN. We describe a patient with severe and enduring AN whose osteoporosis, with resultant fractures, was completely reversed. Available patient records, imaging, and laboratory data were evaluated.


This case represents a common yet often improperly treated complication of AN. It demonstrates the potential important clinical role that targeted medicines coupled with a multifaceted supplementation and lifestyle interventions, may have for some very malnourished patients with AN. Medications, in the treatment of osteoporosis in patients with severe AN, may decrease fracture risk, enhance overall bone density, and contribute to an improved quality of life.

Written by

Philip S. Mehler, MD, FACP, FAED, CEDS

Dr. Philip S. Mehler began his career at Denver Health more than 35 years ago and was formerly its Chief of Internal Medicine and then Denver Health’s Chief Medical Officer (CMO) until he was promoted…

ACUTE Earns Prestigious Center of Excellence Designation from Anthem
In 2018, the ACUTE Center for Eating Disorders & Severe Malnutrition at Denver Health was honored by Anthem Health as a Center of Excellence for Medical Treatment of Severe and Extreme Eating Disorders. ACUTE is the first medical unit ever to achieve this designation in the field of eating disorders. It comes after a rigorous review process.

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