Avoidant-Restrictive Food Intake Disorder Medication

Updated: Nov 22, 2021
  • Author: Lauren Brooke Belak; Chief Editor: David Bienenfeld, MD  more...
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Medication Summary

No evidence-based pharmacologic treatment has been identified for managing avoidant-restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID). Further research is necessary to determine if antidepressants or anxiolytics may be helpful, especially for patients whose depression and/or anxiety inhibit food intake. Higher levels of pre-meal anxiety have been correlated with lower levels of consumption in patients with Anorexia Nervosa, [18] and therefore reducing anxiety surrounding mealtimes may be useful in treating ARFID, as well.

The benzodiazepine alprazolam has been found to be ineffective for improving caloric intake in patients with anorexia nervosa. [19] However, because patients with ARFID present with higher levels of anxiety than those with anorexia nervosa, investigation of the possible benefits of treating ARFID patients with anxyiolytics during the initial stages of re-feeding may be worth further investigation. Patients with ARFID often present at a higher weight than those with anorexia nervosa and therefore may have a better ability to metabolize and benefit from pharmacologic agents.