Which treatment setting is best for people with eating disorders: new Cochrane review


  • Mary Corcoran
  • Univadis Medical News
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A new Cochrane Review that assessed the effects of various treatment settings on the reduction of symptoms and increase in remission rates in people with eating disorders has found people with anorexia nervosa seem more likely to complete treatment when some or all of it is offered in outpatient settings. However, it concluded that there is not enough evidence to support one setting over another. 

Researchers examined data from five trials comparing inpatient care to partial hospital care or outpatient care, alone or in combination. Four trials included 511 people with anorexia nervosa, and one trial included 55 people with bulimia nervosa.

For anorexia nervosa, they found there may be little or no difference between specialist inpatient care and active outpatient or combined brief hospital and outpatient care in terms of weight gain at 12 months after the start of treatment. They found people may be more likely to complete treatment when randomised to outpatient care settings but said this finding is very uncertain. 

There was also insufficient evidence to conclude whether any treatment setting was superior for treating people with other eating disorders.

The authors said more research is needed for all comparisons of inpatient care versus alternate care.