OBJECTIVE: Bulimia nervosa has been associated with alterations in central serotonergic (5-HT) function. This study investigated iodine-labeled 4-amino-N-[1-[3-(4-fluorophenoxy) propyl]-4-methyl-4-piperidinyl]-5-iodo-2-methoxybenzamide (123I-5-I-R91150) binding to the 5-HT2A receptor in the brain by using single photon emission computed tomography in acutely ill bulimia nervosa patients. METHOD: Cortical 123I-5-I-R91150 binding in 10 normal-weight patients with bulimia nervosa, purging type, was compared with that of 11 healthy volunteers. RESULTS: The 5-HT2A binding index of the bulimia nervosa patients, with and without correction for age, was not significantly different from that of the comparison group. CONCLUSIONS: As a group, acutely ill bulimia nervosa patients cannot be discriminated from healthy subjects on the basis of cortical 123I-5-I-R91150 binding to the 5-HT2A receptor.