Page last updated at 16:00 GMT, Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Anorexic given 'appetite reducer'

A teenager died of anorexia three years after she was prescribed an anti-depressant which can reduce appetite, an inquest in Norwich has heard.

Charlotte Robinson, 18, of Worstead in Norfolk, was diagnosed with anorexia in April 2007 and died four months later.

She weighed 6st 2lb (39.4kg) shortly before her death, the inquest was told.

Dr Durga Harsh said one side effect of the anti-depressant, Sertraline, was to reduce the appetite, but to link the drug to her death was "speculation".

The hearing was told Ms Robinson took Sertraline over an intermittent period after she was prescribed it for an obsessive compulsive disorder in September 2004.

By April 2007, her weight had dropped below the level at which inpatient care is recommended by national guidelines.

Over-exercising

But Ms Robinson, who sat A-level exams two months before her death, resisted the move because she was keen not to "disrupt" her studies or summer break, the inquest heard.

Dr Harsh told the hearing he first saw Ms Robinson on 5 July last year as an outpatient.

When asked if she would have been a "fitter state" if he had seen her earlier, he said: "Anything could've happened. Most likely a better outcome if she had come earlier."

Mental health nurse Amanda Frost said Ms Robinson began "over-exercising" after being told to increase her food intake.

"She admitted doing sit-ups to make her feel less guilty about eating more," she said.

The inquest was adjourned until Wednesday.

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