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Vyvanse: First Medication Approved for Binge Eating Disorder

by Dr. Sharon Orrange on February 3, 2015 at 1:32 pm

Vyvanse (lisdexamfetamine) just became the first medication approved for the treatment of binge eating disorder (BED). BED is more prevalent than anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa combined and is different in that there is no regular use of purging, fasting, or excessive exercise.

What are the key features of binge eating disorder?

An episode of binge eating is defined as consuming a large amount of food in a discrete period of time. There is no weight criteria for binge eating disorder and folks report a lack of control over eating during the episode. Binge-eating episodes are marked by at least three of the following:

  • Eating large amounts of food when not feeling physically hungry
  • Eating more rapidly than normal
  • Eating until feeling uncomfortably full
  • Eating alone because of embarrassment by the amount of food consumed
  • Feeling disgusted with oneself, depressed, or guilty after overeating
  • Episodes occur on average for two days per week for at least six months

What works for the treatment of binge eating disorder?

Targeted psychotherapy and several SSRI antidepressants have shown success in the treatment of binge eating disorder but today brought news that Vyvanse has received FDA Approval for BED.

Vyvanse and Binge Eating Disorder (BED)

In two large studies, participants taking Vyvanse had a decrease in the number of binge eating days per week and had fewer obsessive-compulsive binge eating behaviors.

You may recognize Vyvanse as the once-daily medication used to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)—now it may also be used for BED.

Vyvanse is a schedule II controlled drug because of its high potential for abuse, and the potential of long term use leading to dependence. Stimulants such as Vyvanse carry a rare but known risk of psychotic or manic symptoms, hallucinations, delusional thinking, or mania. More common yet less scary side effects reported by people taking Vyvanse include dry mouth, sleeplessness, increased heart rate, jittery feelings, constipation, and anxiety.

Worth a try?

Dr O.

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