Papers And Originals

Amenorrhoea in Anorexia Nervosa: Assessment and Treatment with Clomiphene Citrate

Br Med J 1971; 4 doi: (Published 04 December 1971) Cite this as: Br Med J 1971;4:590
  1. J. C. Marshall,
  2. T. Russell Fraser


    Seven patients with anorexia nervosa were studied, three during the acute stages of the illness, and four in whom weight gain had been achieved, but who suffered from persistent amenorrhoea of 18 to 79 months' duration.

    In the acute stage all patients had low serum luteinizing hormone (LH) levels which were unresponsive to clomiphene citrate. In those who had regained weight the mean basal LH levels were normal, and they responded to clomiphene with an initial doubling of serum LH during administration of the drug, followed by a second peak of serum LH four to seven days after the drug was stopped. Menstruation occurred in these patients 13 to 19 days after the clomiphene was discontinued, and in two patients regular spontaneous menstruation was initiated.

    The low LH levels unresponsive to clomiphene in the acute stage provide evidence for a hypothalamic abnormality in anorexia nervosa. After regain of body weight the drug seems to be effective in treating the amenorrhoea which may be persistent.