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A new analysis, published in The Lancet Psychiatry, has shown a lack of strong evidence to support current guidance on psychological therapies for treating anorexia nervosa over expert treatment as usual.

The findings highlight a need for further research and support a call for individual trial data to be made available so the benefits of treatments in specific patient populations can be better understood.

Building on a previous study from 2018 and conducted by an international team of researchers, the analysis included 16 randomised controlled trials and a total of 1,049 patients. The trials compared psychological therapies to treatment as usual in adults receiving outpatient treatment for anorexia. The trials measured eating disorder symptoms, body-mass index (BMI) and drop-out rate.

The analysis found some therapies to have modest benefit to patients. However, the therapies, currently recommended by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) and in clinical guidelines internationally, were not shown to differ significantly from expert treatment as usual.

Read the full story on the NIHR Oxford Health Biomedical Research Centre.

Read the full paper, Comparative efficacy and acceptability of psychological interventions for the treatment of adult outpatients with anorexia nervosa: a systematic review and network meta-analysis.

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