Treatment of Osteopenia and Osteoporosis in Anorexia Nervosa: A Systematic Review of the Literature
Objective: To systematically review the evidence supporting treatment of osteopenia and osteoporosis in patients with anorexia nervosa (AN).
Data sources: We identified controlled clinical studies of interventions for low bone mass in AN via searches of MEDLINE; the Cochrane Library; EMBASE; PsycINFO; and cumulative index to nursing and allied health literature. Outcomes of interest were changes in bone mineral density and fracture incidence.
Results: Six randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and two cohort trials examined five classes of medical therapy on bone mineral density outcomes. One RCT of bisphosphonates showed no benefit and a second flawed RCT showed some benefit; one RCT showed a benefit of insulin-like growth factor-I; none of the five trials evaluating estrogen therapy showed benefit.
Discussion: Although patients with AN are often losing bone mass when they should be optimizing bone growth, there is no good evidence to guide medicinal interventions. Therefore, early detection and weight restoration are of utmost importance whereas ongoing trials define effective therapies.